Belfast Telegraph

Tory rebels succeed in bid to block no-deal Brexit as Johnson set to seek snap general election

MPs voted in favour of allowing a cross-party alliance to take control of the Commons agenda on Wednesday in a bid to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31

Boris Johnson has suffered his first defeat as prime minister as a majority of MPs, including 21 Tory rebels, voted to gain control of the Commons agenda in an attempt to block a no-deal Brexit.

A total of 328 MPs voted in favour of the motion, while 301 voted against - a majority of 27.

The DUP backed the government in defeat, while North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon supported the motion defying the Government.

The 21 rebel MPs are Guto Bebb, Richard Benyon, Steve Brine, Alistair Burt, Greg Clark, Kenneth Clarke, David Gauke, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah, Philip Hammond, Stephen Hammond, Richard Harrington, Margot James, Oliver Letwin, Anne Milton, Caroline Nokes, Antoinette Sandbach, Nicholas Soames, Rory Stewart and Ed Vaizey.

Downing Street confirmed that the Tory rebels – including former chancellors Mr Clarke and Mr Hammond – would lose the Conservative whip as a result of their actions.

Mr Johnson confirmed he will be tabling a motion for an election on October 15 if Wednesday's vote is another defeat for the Government.

He told the House of Commons: “The consequences of this vote tonight means that Parliament is on the brink of wrecking any deal that we might be able to get in Brussels.

“It will hand control of the negotiations to the EU.”

He continued: “I don’t want an election but if MPs vote tomorrow to stop the negotiations and to compel another pointless delay of Brexit, potentially for years, then that will be the only way to resolve this.

“I can confirm that tonight we will are tabling a motion under the Fixed-term Parliament Act.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it is fine for Mr Johnson to table a motion for a general election, but that no-deal must be removed as an option first.

Mr Corbyn said the Government must "get the Bill through first in order to take no-deal off the table".

He added: "We do not have a presidency, we have a Prime Minister who governs with the consensus of the House of Commons representing the people within whom the sovereignty rests."

The Labour leader said that there is no consent to leave the EU without a deal, saying: "There is no majority to leave without a deal within the country".

Mr Corbyn called on Mr Johnson to put his Brexit plan to the people, if he has one.

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