Prime Minister suffers biggest government defeat in history as Brexit deal rejected by MPs

Theresa may

Prime Minister Theresa May stood almost alone on Tuesday, as the Brexit deal was lost by 432 votes to 202 – the biggest government defeat in history.

As many in her own party abandoned their leader and rejected her unloved Brexit deal — leaving Britain’s future relationship with the European Union unclear.

Summing up the five days of debate over the Brexit deal in Parliament, May said Tuesday evening, “This is a historic decision that will set the future of this country for generations.”

As the members in the chamber hooted and jeered, the speaker gaveled the members to quiet, complaining of the “noisy and unseemly atmosphere.”

“The House must calm itself. Zen! Calm! Patience!” John Bercow shouted.

May told Parliament that the choice was plain: support her imperfect, but practical, compromise deal — and the only one that Europe will abide, she stressed — or face the cliff edge of no-deal Brexit.

May said that anyone who thinks they can go to Brussels and get a better deal are deluding themselves.

Scholars had to go as far back as the 19th century to find a comparable party split and parliamentary defeat — to Prime Minister William Gladstone’s support for Irish home rule in 1886, which cut the Liberal Party in two.

The events in Parliament today are really quite remarkable,” said Cambridge University political historian Luke Blaxill. “This doesn’t happen.” Meaning, usually British parties fight with one another in Parliament — but members don’t tear their own parties apart.

The EU president Donald Tusk tweeted not long after the vote was announced suggesting that the UKs only option was to abandon its plan to leave.

After the crushing defeat the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in the government which will be debated on during the entire day on Wednesday and the result of that debate may be a call for a General Election.

The Labour Chancellor John McDonnell told Sky News that the result was ‘staggering’ & ‘catastrophic’ for PM and while numbers are against them he hadn’t given up hope of winning the no confidence vote.

Where this leaves Article 50 and the countries plan to leave the European Union in 73 days on March 29th in an orderly way is presently unclear, and the much talked about, no-deal Brexit is currently where the country is headed.

Responding to the defeat, Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “Every business will feel no deal is hurtling closer. A new plan is needed immediately. This is now a time for our politicians to make history as leaders. All MPs need to reflect on the need for compromise and to act at speed to protect the UK’s economy.”

Ian Wright CBE, Food & Drink Federation Chief Executive added: “The Prime Minister’s deal has been decisively rejected and it is now vital that the political leadership find a way to indicate what alternative should be pursued.

“We are calling for an extension to the transition period in order for parliament to decide what our next steps are; whether that is a new deal, a referendum, an orderly exit from the EU without a deal at a later date, or a general election.

“The Government should now be looking to speak with representative organisations such as the FDF, to ensure they are pursuing an alternative that prevents further damage to the UK’s wider economy.”