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Theresa May's Brexit deal crushed in House of Commons by 432 votes to 202

May now faces a no confidence vote in Westminster tomorrow.

Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Updated Jan 15th 2019, 8:06 PM

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has suffered a crushing parliamentary defeat tonight in a historic vote over the Brexit deal. 

May’s bid to get the Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons was defeated by a margin of 202 to 432, a majority of 230.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a no confidence motion in the immediate aftermath of the bombshell result being announced. 

The motion will be debated and voted on tomorrow evening – but with the DUP and Eurosceptic Tories rowing in behind the Prime Minister she looks all but assured to survive. 

Reacting to her defeat in the House of Commons, May said that MPs have established what they are against  but not what they are for. 

“I ask members on all sides of the house to listen to the British people who want this matter settled,” she said.

Corbyn then confirmed that the no confidence motion, telling MPs: 

“This is the greatest defeat for a government since the 1920s in this house. This is a catastrophic defeat for this government. After two years of failed negotiations, the House of Commons has delivered its verdict on her Brexit deal, and its verdict is decisive.”

May’s government only has a majority in the Commons with the support of the DUP, so their ten votes will be crucial in any confidence vote. 

In a statement the party’s leader Arlene Foster indicated DUP MPs would back the embattled prime minister.

“We will work with the Government constructively to achieve a better deal. That is our focus. Whilst some may wish to use this defeat to boost their political ambitions, we will give the Government the space to set out a plan to secure a better deal,” Foster said.

PastedImage-61121 May listens to Corbyn after her defeat. Source:

Reacting to May’s defeat this evening, EU Council President Donald Tusk suggested that there may be few solutions remaining that involve the UK leaving the EU, tweeting:

If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned that the vote increased the chances of the UK crashing out with no deal. 

“I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up,” Juncker, said after the vote. 

Earlier, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas today raised the possibility of further talks while ruling out a full re-negotiation of the text.

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“I am sceptical that the agreement can be fundamentally reopened once again,” Maas said.

Here, the Government has said it will continue to intensify preparations for a disorderly Brexit.


Hardline Brexiteers and Remainers oppose the current agreement for different reasons and many fear it could lock Britain into an unfavourable trading relationship with the EU.

Opposition to the agreement forced May to postpone the vote in December in the hope of winning concessions from Brussels ahead of the planned 29 March Brexit date. 

The withdrawal agreement includes plans for a post-Brexit transition period until a new relationship is drawn up, in return for continued budget contributions from London.

Without it, and if there is no delay, the UK will sever 46 years of ties with its nearest neighbours with no agreement to ease the blow.

- With reporting from AFP and Rónán Duffy

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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