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DUP vote against Government as MPs request Brexit delay beyond March 29

  • MPs authorise PM to request an extension to Article 50
  • MPs reject second referendum by majority of 249
  • MPS vote down Benn amendment by 314 votes to 312
  • Jeremy Corbyn's amendment is also rejected by 16 votes

The DUP's 10 Westminster MPs voted against the Government's motion to delay Article 50 on Thursday evening.

The party, who are propping up Theresa May's Government, joined 188 Conservative rebels in voting against the motion, which passed by 412 votes to 202 - a majority of 210.

Even the Prime Minister's own Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, who opened Thursday's debate and commended the motion to the house, voted against it.

In the end, it was Labour's backing that saw the Government secure a rare victory in the long-running Brexit saga.

The vote came after Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement was rejected for the second time on Tuesday and MPs voted the following day to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Only a refusal by the leaders of the 27 remaining EU states to grant the UK an extension at a Brussels summit next week could now preserve March 29 as Brexit Day.

Mrs May has made clear that she will press her Agreement to a third "meaningful vote" in the Commons by March 20 in the hope of securing the support of MPs who rejected it by 230 votes in January and 149 earlier this week.

If she succeeds, she will go to Brussels next Thursday to request a short delay to a date no later than June 30, to give herself time to pass legislative changes necessarily for a smooth and orderly Brexit.

But if her deal is rejected for a third time, she believes any extension would have to be far longer and would involve the UK taking part in European Parliament elections in May.

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington told MPs that in this case, the Government would stage two weeks of debate following the March 21-22 summit for the Commons to try to establish a majority around a different plan.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

In statement a spokesman for the European Commission said: “We take note of tonight’s votes. A request of an extension to article 50 requires the unanimous agreement of all 27 member states. It will be for the European Council to consider such a request, giving priority to the need to ensure the functioning of the EU institutions and taking in account the reasons for and duration of a possible extension; President (Jean-Claude) Juncker is in constant contact with all leaders."

Earlier European Council president Donald Tusk indicated that the EU may be ready to offer a lengthy extension to negotiations if the UK wants to "rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it".

Here's what happened in the House of Commons:

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