Brexit vote Brexit bill: UK government loses key vote after Tory rebellion

Published: December 14, 2017 11:12:11 | Updated: December 15, 2017 20:24:04


Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, London on November 22 last. - Reuters file photo

The UK government has been narrowly defeated in a key vote on its Brexit bill after a rebellion by 11 Tory MPs.

In a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, MPs voted to give Parliament a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels.

The government had argued this would jeopardise its chances of delivering a smooth departure from the EU.

Despite a last-minute attempt to offer concessions to rebels, an amendment to the bill was backed by 309 to 305, according to a BBC report.

Ministers said the "minor setback" would not prevent the UK leaving the EU in 2019.

Of the Conservative MPs who voted against the government, eight are former ministers.

One of them, Stephen Hammond, was sacked as Conservative vice chairman in the aftermath of the vote.

"Tonight I put country and constituency before party and voted with my principles to give Parliament a meaningful vote," he tweeted on Wednesday.

The government said it was "disappointed" at losing - its first defeat on Brexit - despite the "strong assurances" it had offered.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the defeat was "a humiliating loss of authority" for Mrs May on the eve of an EU summit where leaders will discuss Brexit.

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