DUP votes not enough to stop May suffering humiliation in Brexit revolt
The DUP’s 10 votes in the House of Commons were not enough to save Theresa May from an embarrassing defeat as MPs moved to “take back.
In a damaging blow to the Prime Minister’s already diminished authority, Tory rebels rallied around ringleader Dominic Grieve to back his attempt to ensure MPs have a “meaningful vote” on the withdrawal deal.
A dramatic last-minute concession by justice minister Dominic Raab was dismissed as “too late” by Mr Grieve, whose amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill squeezed through the Commons on a majority of four amid tense scenes in the chamber.
There were 11 Tory rebels in total, according to the official Commons list, with the amendment to the government bill backed by 309 to 305.
Among the rebels was Stephen Hammond, who was immediately sacked as vice-chair of the Conservative Party. One of the two Labour rebels was Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey from Belfast.
All 10 DUP MPs voted with the Government, but despite their support, the amendment still passed.
However, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson insisted afterwards that his party’s support was still vital to the Government, with which it has a ‘supply and confidence’ deal.
“So far during the passage of the bill to take us out of the EU the votes of the DUP have been vital in nearly half the divisions. And between now and Christmas there will be other vital votes including the inclusion of a definite leaving date in the bill, an amendment which we will be supporting,” he said.
“The real fight to deliver the will of the people has started in earnest.
“Tonight’s setback highlights the importance of the DUP in this battle where slim majorities may be the order of the day.” Mr Wilson also said that last night’s vote “will ensure that the referendum wreckers have the means to get their way”.
The DUP member added: “At the very least the vote will prolong uncertainty as the Government will be unable to proceed with legislation which could give assurances to businesses about the regulatory framework they will be working under and EU citizens living in the UK will not have the legal certainty about their status.
“At the very worst it will enable those MPs who want to keep the UK in the EU completely or partially to wilfully block a deal and force the Government into the impossible position to go back cap in hand to the EU for new terms.
“In fact, EU negotiators now have every incentive to give a really bad deal to the UK.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital