Theresa May suffers humiliating House of Commons defeat over critical Brexit vote
Theresa May has suffered a humiliating House of Commons defeat in a critical Brexit vote at the hands of her own MPs.
In a damaging blow to her 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.
Tory rebel Nicky Morgan tweeted: "Tonight Parliament took control of the EU Withdrawal process."
While some would-be rebels such as George Freeman and Vicky Ford said Mr Raab's promise of fresh limits on powers in the Bill was enough for them to back down, it was not enough for the Government to avoid defeat.
As Mrs May prepared to travel to a Brussels summit on Thursday where European Union leaders are expected to rubber-stamp Brexit negotiations moving on to trade, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "This defeat is a humiliating loss of authority for the Government on the eve of the European Council meeting.
"Labour has made the case since the referendum for a meaningful vote in Parliament on the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.
"Theresa May has resisted democratic accountability. Her refusal to listen means she will now have to accept Parliament taking back control."
A Government spokeswoman said: "We are disappointed that Parliament has voted for this amendment despite the strong assurances that we have set out.
"We are as clear as ever that this Bill, and the powers within it, are essential.
"This amendment does not prevent us from preparing our statute book for exit day. We will now determine whether further changes are needed to the Bill to ensure it fulfils its vital purpose."
Belfast Telegraph Digital