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Brexit Live: All eight options defeated in ‘indicative votes’ process

The result of the votes came hours after Theresa May said she would step down if her deal is backed.

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Prime Minister Theresa May has offered to step down (House of Commons/PA)

Prime Minister Theresa May has offered to step down (House of Commons/PA)

Prime Minister Theresa May has offered to step down (House of Commons/PA)

MPs did not give majority backing to any of the eight Brexit alternatives put forward on the first day of the indicative vote process.

The Commons did vote to change the exit date for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU but did not support any of the eight proposals put forward as indicative votes.

It came after Prime Minister Theresa May told Conservative MPs she “will not stand in the way” of the party having new leadership for the second phase of Brexit negotiations.

Mrs May told the 1922 Committee: “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.”

Here’s the latest from Westminster:

10.55pm

Anne Marie Morris, Conservative MP for Newton Abbot, said she voted against each of the eight options except for the option to leave without a deal.

She accused the PM of “having, frankly, the audacity to agree to an extension without going through the usual protocols of taking it to Parliament first”.

She said: “What I’m absolutely convinced about is her deal is the only way of guaranteeing that we don’t get Brexit.

“The reality is after what’s happened tonight, I think she’s going to be thinking long and hard about that deal because, frankly, it looks to me as if it’s dead.”

10.47pm

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Jeremy Corbyn leaves the Houses of Parliament after his motion was rejected (Victoria Jones/PA)

Jeremy Corbyn leaves the Houses of Parliament after his motion was rejected (Victoria Jones/PA)

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Jeremy Corbyn leaves the Houses of Parliament after his motion was rejected (Victoria Jones/PA)

10.42pm

How MPs rejected all eight amendments:

10.41pm

The Speaker reiterated his stance that a “significant change” would have to be made to allow a third meaningful vote to take place.

“He can readily extrapolate from what I have said before,” he said.

“On that occasion I indicated that it seemed to me there was a matter not just of precise wording but of thrust – what was the essential thrust of the proposition that was being put, had it changed or had it not?

“I invoked evidence in support of the propriety of the second vote on March 12 of the publication of documents consequent on discussions that took place with the EU.”

Mr Bercow suggested he was open to persuasion on whether the current circumstances had changed enough to allow a third meaningful vote.

Referring to the EU documents in the second vote, he said: “Those were examples, it seemed to me, of facts, of evidence and of circumstances that were relevant.

“I note the opinion… that the situation has in some way now changed.

“One has to look at the specifics and if people come with specifics, then the specifics are considered.”

10.31pm

The Independent Group MP Mike Gapes asked speaker John Bercow: “Have you had any intimation given the two huge defeats for the Prime Minister following her discussions with her Parliamentary colleagues earlier this afternoon, that the Prime Minister will be coming before the House in the next few days to announce her resignation?”

Mr Bercow responded: “I certainly have received no such indication at all. The Prime Minister was here today and the Prime Minister, to be fair, has been a most assiduous attender in the chamber in making statements to the House and responding to questions.

“I have received no such indication. I’m aware of media reports but I myself would not have been present at any meetings that took place earlier for very obvious reasons.”

10.29pm

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

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(PA Graphics)

10.24pm

Raising a further point of order relating to the meaningful vote, Tory Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales) said he thought there was an “inconsistency” in the Speaker’s ruling.

Mr Bercow replied: “The process for which the House opted was and is a discreet process, the first of its kind, indeed the novelty to some people welcome, to others unwelcome, of the process was the subject of much comment earlier in our proceedings.

“I believe it is a process and the House decided earlier that it should be pursued over a two-day period. In those circumstances with a specific balloting procedure set in train, I do not think that it falls into the category that (he) has described.”

Labour’s Angela Eagle (Wallasey) noted the results for a customs union and confirmatory ballot proposals, adding Mr Barclay “has argued that the Government motion which failed by 230 at its first attempt and by 149 at its second attempt should somehow take precedence”.

“Don’t you, Mr Speaker, think that this is rather an odd interpretation of the results that we’ve had so far?”

Mr Bercow replied: “Well, interpretations vary.”

10.18pm

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said politicians could face “a massive backlash from voters” in the wake of the indicative votes in the Commons.

10.17pm

The Independent Group spokesman Chuka Umunna said “it’s all to play for” after the motion for a confirmatory public vote on Brexit received the most votes of any option.

10.15pm

John Bercow revealed all motions had been defeated:

10.13pm

Tory Brexiteer Julian Lewis (New Forest East) said, if he were an unofficial prime minister, he would resign, to loud cheers from MPs.

He said: “Is there any way I can point out to what might be a bemused wider world that people were not having to choose between these different eight options, they were able to vote for or against each and every one of them, and they voted against all of them.

“If I were an unofficial backbench prime minister I would resign at this point, not seek to repeat such an exercise in abject failure.”

10.11pm

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

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(PA Graphics)

10.09pm

Pro-EU Tory Nick Boles said he hoped to persuade his colleagues ahead of the next series of votes after MPs rejected his Brexit alternative of Common market 2.0 on Wednesday.

10.05pm

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford called for a general election to end the “impasse” after the indicative votes.

Mr Blackford said: “This is a very serious moment for all of us and we have to reflect that this House of Commons has tried to find a way through the Brexit crisis over the last few months and we have failed.

“We need to reflect on the fact that when the Government talks about bringing their deal back, there are two occasions where the Government got 202 and 242 votes. That deal should be dead. And indeed the people’s vote got 268 votes tonight.

“I know we didn’t win but we got more votes for the people’s vote than the Government got for its proposition. I think it is becoming increasingly clear that this House can’t find a way forward. This Government, this Prime Minister, has failed to provide leadership.

“The only thing we should now be doing is going back to the people of the United Kingdom in a general election to end this impasse.”

10.02pm

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable said the “centre of gravity” had become clearer following Wednesday’s votes.

9.58pm

Raising a point of order, Sir Oliver said: “It is, of course, a very great disappointment that the House has not chosen to find a majority for any proposition, however those of us who put this proposal forward as a way of proceeding predicted that we would not this evening reach a majority, and indeed for that very reason put forward a business of the House motion designed to allow the House to reconsider these matters on Monday.”

To shouts of “no”, he added: “And if on Monday the House is able to reach a majority view, I think that would be in the interests of our constituents, but I personally continue to harbour the hope that (MPs) will see fit to vote in favour of a Government motion between now and close of play on Friday. Which would obviate the necessity for a further set of votes on Monday.”

9.55pm

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said, with no majority for any of the options, MPs should now back Mrs May’s deal “in the national interest”.

He said: “The results of the process this House has gone through today strengthens our view that the deal the Government has negotiated is the best option.

“If you believe in delivering on the referendum result by leaving the EU with a deal, then it’s necessary to back the Withdrawal Agreement – if we do not do that, then there are no guarantees about where this process will end.

“It’s for that reason that I call on all members from across this House in the national interest to back the Prime Minister’s deal.”

9.50pm

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas pointed out that despite not obtaining a majority, the plan for a confirmatory public vote received more votes than the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan.

9.49pm

Speaker John Bercow announced the results as follows for the indicative votes procedure:

Motion B) No deal – defeated by 400 votes to 160, majority 240.

Motion D) Common market 2.0 – defeated by 283 votes to 188, majority 95.

Motion H) Efta and EEA – defeated by 377 votes to 65, majority 312.

Motion J) Customs union – defeated by 272 votes to 264, majority eight.

Motion K) Labour’s alternative plan – defeated by 307 votes to 237, majority 70.

Motion L) Revocation to avoid no-deal – defeated by 293 votes to 184, majority 109.

Motion M) Confirmatory public vote – defeated by 295 voted to 268, majority 27.

Motion O) Contingent preferential arrangements – defeated by 422 votes to 139, majority 283.

9.40pm

MPs have given no majority to any of the eight Brexit alternatives considered on day one of the indicative vote process.

9.35pm

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MPs announcing that they have voted in favour of regulations linked to changing the exit date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (House of Commons/PA)

MPs announcing that they have voted in favour of regulations linked to changing the exit date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (House of Commons/PA)

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MPs announcing that they have voted in favour of regulations linked to changing the exit date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (House of Commons/PA)

9.29pm

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

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(PA Graphics)

9.21pm

Speaker John Bercow suspended the sitting of the Commons until the results of the indicative votes are available.

9.19pm

MPs have voted in favour of regulations linked to changing the exit date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU from March 29 by 441 votes to 105, majority 336.

9.06pm

Tory Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) said the mood outside parliament was overwhelming that “we should get on with it”.

He said: “We do not want this House sidelined or presumed upon. This House should decide when we leave the EU and it shouldn’t have been settled in that way.”

Tory Sir Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) said millions of voters expected to leave the EU on March 29 and this debate for them “comes as a very great disappointment because this order cancels exit day for the 29th March”.

He said: “History will mark this day as the moment that this House decided to start to turn against the decision to leave the EU and against the mandate upon which most MPs in this House were elected.”

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s future, Labour’s Angela Eagle (Wallasey) said: “So now we have, whilst the country’s future is still in the air and not decided, the horrible, self-regarding spectacle of the next runners and riders in the Conservative Party to see who will inherit the poisoned chalice that the Tory psychodrama of Brexit has injected into the body politic in this country.

“So I believe that the minister’s SI today is an inevitable consequence of creating a false cliff-edge which was put there for blackmail purposes.”

8.59pm

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the Brexit deal would endanger the union of the United Kingdom as she made clear her party could still not support Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

She told Sky News: “What we can’t agree to is something that threatens the union, that has a strategic risk to the union.

“For us in the Democratic Unionist Party, the union will always come first and that has been the issue right from the beginning of all of this.”

8.50pm

8.49pm

The DUP has said it will not support the Government if it tables a fresh meaningful Brexit vote because “the necessary changes we seek to the backstop have not been secured”.

8.38pm

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage asked the European Parliament if they really wanted him to return.

8.26pm

Amer Rudd believes the deal may now be passed.

8.25pm

Melanie Onn has quit as shadow housing minister after Labour MPs were whipped to back a call for any Brexit deal in this parliament to be put to a public vote.

The Great Grimbsy MP has been a vocal opponent of a second referendum.

8.23pm

Labour’s shadow Brexit minister Matthew Pennycook said: “An extension to the Article 50 process until at least April 12 will now happen as a matter of international law and, as the minister said, it is now binding in international law.”

Mr Pennycook added: “No-one, including those who have no problem with an extension, expected that this Government would fail so miserably that an extension of any kind would be required.”

He said failing to approve the regulation would only achieve “immense legal confusion”.

Tory MP Sir William Cash (Stone) said: “It is quite clear that the law officers must be consulted in good time before the Government is committed to critical decisions involving legal considerations.”

Sir William said he did not believe the Prime Minister had done so and asked whether this meant she had misled the House.

He said: “Did the Prime Minister consult the law officers as a matter of fact? I asked her and she refused twice to tell me. The inference is she did not. Is this not misleading the House? That is a question which worries me intensely.”

8.13pm

8.08pm

Labour MP Angela Eagle (Wallasey) asked if Brexiteers wanted to abolish the monarchy, based on their objections to the royal prerogative being used in Brexit negotiations.

She said: “Could you advise me whether what members opposite are actually objecting to is the use of the royal prerogative, and the logic which allows us to sign up to international treaties using that power?

“The logic of what they’re actually arguing is we should get rid of the Queen.”

Speaker John Bercow said: “It’s not for me to offer an exegesis of what individuals might think about our constitutional arrangements including the use or otherwise of the royal prerogative.”

8.05pm

Mr Walker appealed to MPs to back a statutory instrument approving the Article 50 extension, signed up to by the UK and the 27 EU member states, to reflect international law.

But Tory Brexiteers including Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) made their objections to the Commons being asked to rubber-stamp international law clear.

Mr Jenkin said: “This is exactly the kind of decision-making and law-making that people voted against in the referendum.”

However, Independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon (North Down) said MPs needed to face up to reality.

She said: “It is signed, it is not going to be unsigned, the deal is done… we need to get behind the deal and move on.”

8.03pm

Starting a debate on the statutory instrument to delay Brexit beyond March 29, Brexit minister Robin Walker said: “I do of course regret the necessity of having to bring forward this instrument and would prefer that we were leaving the EU with a deal at the end of this week. I have voted on two occasions for that outcome but I know that the House has not.”

He added: “Parliament then voted by 412 to 202 to approve a motion to seek to extend Article 50. An extension has therefore been agreed with the EU and the Government is now committed to implementing it in domestic law.”

Intervening, Tory Mark Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford) asked: “Does this SI now have the effect that the commencement order would have had, so in other words, if we approve the SI and we have not approved the meaningful vote, would we then leave at 11pm on 11th April without the need for a separate commencement order?”

Mr Walker replied: “A commencement order would have to be laid before the point at which we left, whatever that leaving date was.”

He added: “This SI does not set the date at which we leave the EU, this SI reflects the date that is agreed in international law.”

He went on: “Should the House approve the negotiated withdrawal agreement this week, the extension would last until 22nd May, if the House did not approve the withdrawal agreement the extension will last until 12th April.”

7.50pm

Justice Secretary David Gauke said Theresa May made a “very touching, moving speech” as she pledged to step down.

Asked about a forthcoming Tory leadership contest, he told the BBC: “I think just at the moment there’s quite enough for MPs to be focusing on on Brexit, so I think really it’s what we should all be focusing on.”

He added: “What I hope is as a consequence of the process we’re going through at the moment, as a consequence of the Prime Minister making it clear that she will be around for phase one but not phase two of the negotiations, that the House of Commons can rally around her proposals.”

7.46pm

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Theresa May’s decision to step down should her deal pass shows “dignity, honesty and bravery”.

7.40pm

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Brexit protests outside Parliament this evening (Victoria Jones/PA)

Brexit protests outside Parliament this evening (Victoria Jones/PA)

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Brexit protests outside Parliament this evening (Victoria Jones/PA)

7.29pm

Nigel Farage criticised Theresa May’s deal.

7.28pm

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the ERG, said the indicative votes set a “very bad constitutional precedent”.

He said MPs should have instead opted for a vote of no confidence and let the public have a general election.

He told the BBC: “This is constitutionally absurd that people who have voted to take control of proceedings in the house basically don’t have any confidence in the Government but don’t have the courage to say so in a formal vote and they are doing it in an under-the-table fashion.”

“It makes a minority Government extraordinarily difficult and it doesn’t make the governance of this country any better,” Mr Rees-Mogg added.

Mr Rees-Mogg added that he “preferred leaving without a deal” but backed the Prime Minister after that was ruled out.

He said: “I think a considerable amount depends on the DUP and what it decides to do.

“I won’t abandon the DUP because I think they are the champions of the union of the United Kingdom, which is a very important part of Conservative philosophy and thinking.”

The deal has a “good chance of getting through” if the DUP back it or abstain, he said.

7.26pm

Labour MP Owen Smith, a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign for a second EU referendum, said: “It is an appalling insult to the British people that the governing party thinks it can treat the future of the country as a pawn in a Conservative Party leadership contest.

“They are playing with the jobs and livelihoods of millions of people up and down the land. But for them it is all about one job and which of their over-privileged, yet under-achieving, colleagues gets to walk across the threshold of Number 10.

“Let me warn my colleagues on the opposition benches – none of us would ever be forgiven if we helped to pass a broken Brexit deal that gave a right-wing Brextremist the power to tear up workers’ rights, to open up the NHS to US competition or to make climate change denial a cornerstone of policy.

“Mrs May’s desperate announcement – made in a backroom of Westminster to Tory MPs and not to the country – makes the case for a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal all but unanswerable.

“To instead vote for a bad Brexit deal and trust the promises of a Prime Minister who has already announced her resignation, and who is all but certain to be replaced by someone from the hard anti-European right, isn’t just foolish but reckless.”

7.25pm

7.12pm

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said Theresa May’s address to the 1922 Committee was “very personal”.

He told the BBC: “Whilst the Prime Minister has given her indication tonight as to her long-term position, ultimately we have to deal with the here and now which she was so clear on, on getting behind the deal, making Brexit happen, get the vote through this place and move on for the country.”

7.07pm

Boris Johnson left a meeting of the European Research Group without commenting on his U-turn.

He declined to say whether he still believed Theresa May’s deal wrapped a “suicide vest” around the British constitution, as he claimed in 2018.

7.02pm

Tory MP Robert Halfon (Harlow) said leaving the political union but keeping close economic ties would be the way forward.

Mr Halfon said: “I do believe Parliament and politicians are becoming toxic. The 17 million people who voted to leave think that the establishment is against them, too busy playing party politics, determined to stop Brexit.

“So I would not do anything, and I mean anything, that I believe would undermine the decision of the people that voted to leave. I want a strong Brexit, I want a workers’ Brexit and I want a Brexit that unifies our country.

“How do we achieve this? We achieve it through common market 2.0, we achieve it through membership of the European Free Trade Area.”

The Independent Group MP Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) said: “We now know that honourable members opposite who, on previous occasions, have voted against the Prime Minister’s deal not once but twice are now, guess what? Not only changing their minds.

“They too will enjoy the privilege of changing their vote to support the Prime Minister. What a profound irony and, some would say, a disgrace, verging on hypocrisy. Honourable and right honourable members expect and will enjoy the right to change their minds and vote, and not allow the people of this country the same right.”

7.01pm

7pm

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd told Sky News: “The main point about the meeting was for the Prime Minister to set out why she believes – and we all believe, well most of us – that we need to vote for the withdrawal agreement, to deliver on the outcome of the referendum and to do it in a way that we have a deal that supports the country and the economy.

“We have made those arguments so many times but I’m hopeful that the speech she made to the 1922 today will have helped persuade some colleagues of the need to vote for the deal because otherwise the alternatives they will like even less, and I think that message went over.”

She said “nobody had the discourtesy” to push the Prime Minister on when she will step down.

“There was a real feeling of support for the Prime Minister and urgency about wanting to get beyond this, to get back to our domestic policies,” Ms Rudd said.

6.59pm

6.59pm

Speaker John Bercow has suspended the sitting of the House of Commons for 30 minutes to enable voting on the Brexit deal alternatives.

6.54pm

MP Sir Alan Duncan praised the Prime Minister’s “fortitude”.

6.53pm

George Freeman, the Prime Minister’s former policy adviser, said she had done the “right thing” in announcing her decision to stand down.

“It was a very sad moment. She has devoted her life to public service,” he told the BBC.

“She – with tears not far from her eyes – said: ‘Tonight this is a moment I promised I would deliver the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

“‘I have made many mistakes. I am only human. I beg you, colleagues, vote for the Withdrawal Agreement and I will go’. There was silence in the room and it was incredibly sad.”

Mr Freeman said her speech to the 1922 Committee was followed by a series of interventions from “very hardline Brexiteers” all saying “Prime Minister, thank you, I will now vote for this deal”.

He added: “She is falling on her sword, putting country before party and career, and is asking them to do the same. You could hear a pin drop in that room.”

6.50pm

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “It was inevitable that at some point the Prime Minister would have to go. Now, we need a change of approach from the Conservative Party rather than just a change in leader.

“Any Brexit deal is a bad choice for Scotland. That’s why we are campaigning for a People’s Vote and an exit from Brexit.

“Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t seem to have learned anything from Brexit. She should see that breaking up a political union inevitably leads to chaos and confusion.”

6.48pm

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer raised a question on Boris Johnson’s reported shift.

6.40pm

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the PM’s pledge to step down shows the Brexit negotiations “have been about party management”.

6.37pm

6.36pm

Chancellor Philip Hammond praised the Prime Minister.

Conservative MP Conor Burns appeared to suggest Boris Johnson would now be voting for Mrs May’s deal.

6.32pm

Tory MP Andrew Percy, who backs Theresa May’s deal, said the way she had been forced out was “unforgivable”.

“I am slightly irritated and probably even more irritated now that the price of supporting what I think is a good deal, bringing this to a conclusion, is all based around personality rather than based around principle, and I think that is unforgivable,” he told the BBC.

“The Prime Minister has done her duty. She has had all sorts of things thrown at her, a lot of it very unfair. I am sorry it has come down to personalities.”

Steve Brine, who quit as a health minister to vote for the indicative votes, said: “There was no whooping and hollering. No-one takes any great pleasure in what happened.

“There is a lot of respect for the Prime Minister. She was very honest tonight. As ever with Theresa May, she is absolutely country first.”

6.30pm

Tory MP George Freeman said the PM’s speech had been “extraordinarily moving”.

6.25pm

Theresa May to resign: Who could be the next Tory leader?

6.17pm

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Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the Houses of Parliament after announcing she will not remain in post for the next phase of Brexit negotiations (Victoria Jones/PA)

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the Houses of Parliament after announcing she will not remain in post for the next phase of Brexit negotiations (Victoria Jones/PA)

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Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the Houses of Parliament after announcing she will not remain in post for the next phase of Brexit negotiations (Victoria Jones/PA)

6.16pm

Tory MP Anne Marie Morris, a member of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said Mrs May’s announcement would not be enough to persuade her to back her deal.

“I am deeply frustrated. It is not going to do the country any good. While most of us feel she is not the right person to lead this country, she is only going to go if her deal passes,” she told the BBC Radio 4 PM programme.

“My concern is that too many people will see the prize of Theresa going as enough to sway things. I am certainly voting against this deal.”

6.15pm

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Brexit is not about Theresa May’s future, it is about all our futures – and nothing the Prime Minister says about her position changes the fact that her deal is a profoundly bad one.

“For Scotland, this raises the prospect of being shackled to a disastrous Brexit driven by a Tory party lurching even further to the right, with a Brexiteer PM in charge – further reinforcing the case for our country taking its future into its own hands.”

6.13pm

Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said Theresa May had been “dignified and honest”.

6.10pm

Back in the Commons, Tory MP Nicky Morgan said she would vote for the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement if and when it came back to the House.

She stressed the need for compromise, saying MPs should be voting for what they could countenance not their preferred option, adding: “If we stay in our silos and our trenches… we will as a House not find a way through this.”

She spoke of her support for Common Market 2.0, adding there are alternative arrangements that can be secured to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper said the “thoughtful” and “considered” debate was the one that “we should have been having two years ago”.

Constituents she said were feeling deeply frustrated and let down. Speaking in favour of the customs union amendment, she added: “It’s also something I think can be the basis of finding consensus and building agreement.”

She said: “Unless clear consensus can be built, the public consent or public vote will be needed through a General Election or referendum otherwise it will not last.”

6.08pm

Labour MP David Lammy reiterated calls for a new referendum.

6.06pm

6.05pm

Conservative former minister Stephen Crabb tweeted: “Given the crap over the last few days PM spoke with remarkable dignity at 1922 mtg. Perhaps time now for ERG to consider disbanding. Time to get back to being one Conservative Party with one leader, one chief whip etc.”

6.03pm

Theresa May told the 1922 Committee meeting: “This has been a testing time for our country and our party. We’re nearly there. We’re almost ready to start a new chapter and build that brighter future.

“But before we can do that, we have to finish the job in hand.”

6pm

Labour’s Peter Kyle, whose amendment proposing a confirmatory referendum will be voted on by MPs tonight, said the situation was “sickening”.

But Scottish Secretary David Mundell said Theresa May was driven by a “sense of duty and public service”.

Conservative MP Nicholas Soames also praised the Prime Minister.

5.56pm

Mrs May told the 1922 Committee: “I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.

“I know some people are worried that if you vote for the Withdrawal Agreement, I will take that as a mandate to rush on into phase two without the debate we need to have. I won’t – I hear what you are saying.

“But we need to get the deal through and deliver Brexit.

She added:  “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.

“I ask everyone in this room to back the deal so we can complete our historic duty – to deliver on the decision of the British people and leave the European Union with a smooth and orderly exit.”

5.47pm

Prime Minister Theresa May has told Conservative MPs she “will not stand in the way” of the party having new leadership for the second phase of Brexit negotiations, telling the 1922 Committee: “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.”

There was applause and more banging of tables as the PM left the meeting.

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