Closed Brexit: Theresa May survives vote of no confidence – as it happened


Labour’s attempt to trigger a general election fails as motion is defeated by 325 votes to 306

Welcome to the Brexit live blog

After Theresa May’s EU withdrawal plan suffered a historic defeat in the Commons, being overwhelmingly rejected by a margin of 230 MPs, we are looking ahead to a no-confidence vote in the government tabled by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and what the prime minister’s failure in parliament means for the rest of the Brexit process.

Here is the FT’s latest report, which details how Mrs May is expected to win that vote, because neither the Conservatives nor the Democratic Unionist party that props up the government want a general election. Eurosceptic MPs believe Mrs May’s crushing defeat makes an EU exit on March 29 without a deal more likely. Other lawmakers want a second Brexit vote or an extension of Article 50, the legislation that gives a nation two years to negotiate an exit deal from EU and was triggered on March 29 2017.

Newspaper roundup

Unsurprisingly, the extent of Mrs May’s defeat dominates UK front pages.

The Financial Times points out that the 230 votes against Mrs May’s withdrawal deal represent the biggest margin of defeat for a prime minister in modern history.

The Sun pronounces May “Brextinct” and caricatures her as a dodo.

The Independent leads with a cartoon of May clinging to a parody of the infamousBrexit campaign bus, also pointing out that Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is resisting the idea of a second referendum.

The Daily Mail, which two years ago gave Mrs May the moniker the “New Iron Lady” in a reference to former Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher, laments she is now “fighting for her life” and warns another defeat for her could “trigger an election and put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street”.

The left-leaning Guardian newspaper focuses on the extent of rebellion against Mrs May’s deal from within the ranks of her own party, while also reporting EU warnings that Britain is running out of time to strike a deal.

Meanwhile the heavily Brexit-supporting Daily Express leads with commentary, pronouncing its “Dismay” at Mrs May’s Commons defeat and urging MPs to work with her to forge a Brexit deal that satisfies those who voted to leave the EU.

The views from outside the UK

The New York Times says the “Brexit Rebellion” represents a “tectonic shift in how Britain is governed”, arguing that UK governments have historically had an “iron-fisted, sometimes terrifying control of parliamentary affairs”.

The US-owned Bloomberg newswire argues in an editorial that it is time to “stick a fork in Brexit already” and that “a second referendum is the best way out of this mess”.

France’s Le Monde says the options now available to Mrs May are “to commit to return to Brussels to negotiate or request a postponement of the date of Brexit”. Otherwise “the rejection of the deal also opens up the possibility of a divorce without agreement, a prospect that is particularly feared by economists”. In an editorial, the French paper also calls Mrs May “shipwrecked by Brexit”.

Germany’s Der Spiegel pronounces the UK “a divided kingdom”, while Spain’s El Nuevo Dia reports on the parliamentary “death” of Mrs May’s accord.

Popular Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily plays the story straight, reporting on the extent of Mrs May’s defeat and stating that an extension of Article 50 may come next.

Meanwhile, the Beijing-controlled People’s Daily puts May’s defeat down to “worries by Conservative MPs over the parts of the treaty that relate to the Irish border, which have created fears about the United Kingdom becoming split up”.

Wednesday morning roundup

In a busy morning of reaction to last night’s historic defeat for Theresa May’s Brexit deal in parliament, here are the highlights:

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has warned that the British parliament needs to quickly determine “very clearly” what it wants in a new EU exit deal. But he said that the agreement was still the “best compromise” Brussels could offer.
Barnier reaction

Ireland said the EU was not inclined to change Britain’s EU withdrawal treaty and warned that Mrs May’s defeat increased the risk of a disorderly Brexit.
Dublin warning

Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, told the BBC this morning that the government had no intention of delaying the process by extending Article 50.

But Europe appeared open to the prospect. Peter Altmaier, a minister in the German government, said that any attempt to do this would be given serious consideration. “When parliament needs more time, then this is something that will have to be considered by the European Council, and personally I would see that as a reasonable request,” Mr Altmaier told the BBC.

Wednesday timetable

The prime minister will take questions at midday, ahead of the vote of no confidence in her government scheduled for 7pm.

But there are a number of other events during the day, including a launch this morning by a Labour group supporting a “people’s vote” that will test Jeremy Corbyn’s resolve over calling for a second referendum.

Carney warns over Brexit market volatility

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that market volatility is to be expected following the UK government’s Brexit defeat last night, reports the FT’s Caroline Binham.

He told MPs at a select committee that a sharp rebound in sterling following last night’s vote reflected market sentiment that the chances of the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal in place had reduced. But he added that he put “little weight” in short-term moves.

How markets are reacting to Mrs May’s defeat

Sterling held its nerve after the government’s defeat, which investors had expected for some time, Michael Hunter writes. The pound has recovered from a bout of volatility around the result to tick up 0.1 per cent to $1.2873.
Doubts about the prospects for stocks exposed to the domestic UK economy were evident on equities markets.
London’s FTSE 100 missed out on a modest rally for its European peers on global markets, slipping 0.6 per cent overall. Consumer stocks were notable fallers, including major exporters to Europe. Reckitt Benckiser dropped 2.4 per cent and Unilever was down 2 per cent. Diageo, the premium spirits and drinks maker, lost 1.1 per cent.

Fritz Louw, currency analyst at MUFG, said there was “some logic” to the pound’s recovery from the volatility around the result of the vote, adding: “Firstly, a thumping defeat was largely priced. Secondly, parliament now looks in greater control and the numbers are not there for a no-deal Brexit. Thirdly, that means an extension to Article 50 looks inevitable once PM May comes to parliament next Monday and informs us of Plan B.”

Labour MPs call for second referendum

About 40 Labour Europhile MPs have held an event outside parliament demanding that Jeremy Corbyn back a second referendum as soon as his no-confidence motion is defeated this afternoon, writes the FT’s Jim Pickard.

Bridget Phillipson, a Labour MP for Sunderland — which voted Leave — gave a brief speech saying that “the people should be given the final say” over Brexit at an event attended by Margaret Hodge, David Lammy, Anna Turley, Owen Smith and Chris Bryant.

But Jim reports that Mr Corbyn is expected to resist backing another referendum for as long as possible, however, a position that will pit him against his own grassroots.

Labour options

The left-wing Labour leader and veteran Eurosceptic will explore various other options — including finding cross-party support for a permanent customs union or a Norway-plus deal — in order to delay that moment of reckoning.

Eurotunnel reassures

Not many individual companies have commented on the political situation surrounding Brexit.

But Eurotunnel has put its head above the parapet, issuing a press release to reassure that its services will not be disrupted by a no-deal scenario, because it has a long history of adapting to changes in border control regimes. Fingers crossed the optimism is well-placed.

May to win 52:48?

The parliamentary maths is stacked in Theresa May’s favour, with the backing of the DUP giving her a likely majority to win the vote of no confidence tonight.

Jim Pickard writes that the vote could even mirror the outcome of the Brexit referendum with a victory for Mrs May by a 52:48 majority of the house.

He counts the Tories and DUP on one side, and Labour, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Lib Dems and one Green on the other, with the only complication the eight ‘independent‘ MPs who can be less predictable.

These include former Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd (who quit to support Mrs May’s deal), Frank Field (who quit Labour and backed the deal), Sylvia Hermon (who backed the deal) and a few ex-Labour left-wingers such as Jared O’Mara and Fiona Onasanya.

Tory support for second referendum

Conservative MP Phillip Lee will launch a new campaign group in central London tomorrow, reports Laura Hughes.

The group — called “Conservatives for a Second Referendum” — is expected to be backed by a number of prominent MPs.

Dr Lee resigned as justice minister in June in order to campaign against Brexit.
Laura writes that splits are likely to emerge in the pro-EU faction of the Conservative party over the next few days between those who want to push for a Norway-style deal with the EU and MPs who want to push for a second vote.

The move will come after a similar event held today by Labour MPs.

Today in parliament: don’t forget the letterboxes

As we have already mentioned, Theresa May will take questions from midday, with a no-confidence vote in her government likely at 7pm.

Before the motion to agree that vote, however, the House will discuss low-level letterboxes, which are a big issue for postal workers, who deem them responsible for dog bites, trapped fingers and back strain.

After that debate concludes, attention will turn to the no-confidence motion, which is being put forward by a large group of MPs including Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and SNP MP Ian Blackford.

Nicola Sturgeon: May has ‘only reached out to Brexiters’

Scotland’s first minister has delivered a letter to the prime minister that accuses her of focusing only on “those who supported out and most often to those who advocated a hard Brexit”.

This is unfair on Scotland, which voted to remain and which Mrs May has “taken little or no account” of, Ms Sturgeon says, adding there should now be “urgent engagement with the devolved administrations”.

Earlier on Twitter, Ms Sturgeon said that while she supported a “people’s vote”, Scotland’s “wider interests” would only be supported by Scottish independence.

Labour group claims close to 100 MPs support second referendum

A group of Labour MPs in favour of a second referendum claims to have the support of nearly 100 MPs, reports Jim Pickard.

In a press release, the group said:

We must try and remove this government from office as soon as possible. But the removal of the government and pushing for a general election may prove impossible, so we must join trade unions, our members and a majority of our constituents by then unequivocally backing the only logical option to help our country move forward: putting the decision back to the people for a final say, in a public vote, with the option to stay and keep the deal that we have.

The statement is signed by 71 MPs and 13 MEPs. In addition, they say, a further 24 Labour MPs have made statements supporting a public vote to their local press or constituencies but have not signed this statement.

Theresa May to address MPs

The prime minister is taking questions from MPs — who will push her to reveal more on her plans for Brexit following last night’s defeat

Tory rebel shows support

Charlie Elphicke, a Conservative MP who voted against the Brexit treaty, has signalled he is one of the rebels who will back Theresa May in tonight’s confidence vote.

He kicks off PMQs with a soft question underlining what he views as the Conservative government’s record since 2010 on jobs, taxes and the economy.

“The biggest threat to that is sat on the opposition front bench,” he says.

Yesterday he was not so flattering about his party leader, tweeting:

Corbyn demands answers over customs union

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn asked Mrs May about whether the possibility of a future customs union with the EU is being ruled out following the “largest-ever defeat for a government in the history of our democracy”.

Mrs May says that she will listen to the views of the House “to identify what could command support from the House”. She refused to be drawn on a customs union or on a potential delay to Article 50, but said that she does not want a no-deal Brexit.

Asked directly by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn if a customs union was off the table, she said that respecting the referendum “means ending free movement, it means getting a fairer deal for farmers and fishermen, it means new opening up new opportunities to trade with the rest of the world, and it means keeping good ties with our neighbours in Europe”.

May sticks to her line.
After being asked about the future customs union, Mrs May retreats to her longstanding line that her priority is to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum. She adds: “If you want to ensure you don’t have no deal … you have to agree a deal.”

She adds the government still does not want to revoke Article 50, the legislation that sets the Brexit date for March 29.

‘In denial’

Mr Corbyn pressed on, accusing the prime minister of being “in denial” as she remained in power. Mrs May responded that the opposition leader had no clear Brexit policy before Mr Corbyn accused the PM of a “flagrant disregard for statistics”, referencing education policy, fewer police officers and rising crime.

Mrs May pointed out there would be £1bn more made available to fight crime.

Mr Corbyn reminded the premier, quite a few times, that she lost last night’s vote.

May rejects “people’s vote”

In response to a call for a second referendum from Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, the prime minister said that there had already been a “people’s vote” — in 2016.

… and rejects a “people’s vote” again

Labour’s Peter Kyle is up to remind the prime minister of her “historic and titanic defeat” in the Commons last night, while saying “thousands” of pro-EU protesters have “descended on Parliament Square to demand their say” on Brexit. He added that none of these protesters were “taking to the streets demanding a Canada option or a Norway option” for Britain’s future relationship with the EU, referring to countries that have trade deals of types under discussion in Westminster.

Mrs May reaffirmed that she did not support a second Brexit referendum.
“In the 2016 referendum the people of this country voted to leave,” she said.
“It is a duty not just of government but of parliament to make sure we deliver on that.” The PM was focused, she added, on “finding a way that secures the support of the house for the way forward”, saying that parliament should be too.
“It is incumbent on parliament to deliver on that vote.”

May does not rule out Article 50 extension

Tory MP and former chancellor Kenneth Clarke told Mrs May to find new “red lines” and cross-party backing for a deal, pointing to support for a customs union agreement with the EU and extending Article 50.

Ms May did not rule out an extension — but said that “the EU would only extend Article 50 if actually it was clear there was a plan that was moving towards an agreed deal”. Article 50 could not be extended by the UK on its own, she added.

The FT’s Henry Mance said that this would be taken as a big hint that an extension will come.

Kenneth Clarke sighs

Mrs May’s responses on the customs union and extending Article 50 were met with a rather large sigh from Mr Clarke. But it has already been a long week.

A call for flexibility

Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, who voted for Mrs May’s withdrawal deal, nonetheless pushed the prime minister to listen to parliamentarians more in her dealings with them.

She said: “We all need to maintain maximum flexibility if we are to build a consensus in this house.”

Mrs Morgan has previously pressed for a “Norway-style” Brexit that would combine a customs union with the UK staying in the European Economic Area via membership of the European Free Trade Association. This would give the UK’s financial sector a genuine vote over the future regulatory framework it operates within, Mrs Morgan wrote in the FT this month.

Lib Dems open to talks

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable welcomed the offer of cross-party talks, but said the prime minister needed to rule out a no-deal Brexit and promise constructive conversation about a “people’s vote”. Mrs May responded by saying that not all MPs were willing to have constructive talks.

Closer to an Article 50 delay?

“Driving off a cliff never ends well,” said Conservative Sarah Wollaston, who was arguing for an extension of Article 50, the legislation that sets the Brexit date.

The PM responded:

the EU would only extend Article 50 in the circumstances in which it was going to be possible to come to an agreement on a deal.

It seems Mrs May is dangling the idea of an Article 50 extension to shore up support from moderate Tories, while not being explicit about it, as this would annoy hard Brexiters.

Whatever the rhetoric ahead of tonight’s no-confidence vote, our chief political correspondent Jim Pickard said the PM was moving closer to a delay anyway, “albeit in Maybot language”.

What next for Brexit?

Our political editor George Parker has had a look at what the options now are for the UK’s departure from the EU. You can read it here.

Hard Brexit ‘catastrophic’ for car industry

Our motoring correspondent Peter Campbell reports:

Ford CFO Bob Shanks just said in Detroit that a hard Brexit would be “catastrophic” for its UK plants. Here’s his full quote:

“Ford continues to view a no-deal exit as the least likely outcome given how damaging it would be.

“We are urging the UK government and parliament to work together to avoid the country leaving EU without a deal. Such a situation would be catastrophic for UK automotive and Ford’s manufacturing operations in the country.”

Corbyn opens the no-confidence debate

After a short break to discuss the issue of low-level letterboxes, parliament goes straight into the main event of the afternoon: a debate ahead of the Labour motion of no confidence in the prime minister, following the Commons defeat of her EU withdrawal plan.

Jeremy Corbyn opens with these words:

The prime minister has consistently claimed that her deal, which has now been decisively rejected, was good for Britain, workers and businesses. If she is so confident of that, if she genuinely believes it, she should have nothing to fear from going to the people and letting them decide.

Mr Corbyn is not calling for a second Brexit referendum here, but a general election, which he is framing as a vote around Mrs May’s competence, or otherwise, at delivering Brexit.

He continues:

When we have a government that cannot govern in the absence of a written constitution … if a government cannot get its legislation through parliament, it must go to the country for a new mandate, and that must apply when it is on the key issue of the day.

Mr Corbyn adds that Labour’s policies include a customs union and the rejection of a no-deal Brexit, showing he remains keen not to alienate Brexit-supporting or Remain voters.

Rather than campaigning against Brexit, he is campaigning against the government’s performance of it.

Nothing demonstrates the sheer incompetence of this government quite like the Brexit negotiations. Yesterday’s defeat was the result of two years of chaos and failure.

The prime minister has lost control and the government has lost the ability to govern.

Brexit ministers have come, Brexit ministers have gone, but the shambles has remained unchanged.

The deal the prime minister wanted this parliament to support would have left the UK in a helpless position…paying for an extended transition period of trapped in the [Northern Irish] backstop.

When asked by Liberal Democrat Alastair Carmichael if Mr Corbyn would support a people’s vote, the Labour leader says all options are on the table.

He then attacks what Mrs May’s supporters perceive as her resilience:

What we’ve seen in the past two months is not stoical but the prime minister acting in her narrow party interest…she has conducted the argument as if this is a party political matter rather than a question of profound national importance.

Many people across the country will be frustrated and deeply worried about the uncertainly surrounding Brexit. But if this government stays in office the uncertainty and risks will only grow.

Brussels update

Our Brussels correspondent Mehreen Khan reports:

Ambassadors from the EU27 member states are holding an emergency meeting to discuss the fallout from yesterday’s vote and the way forward.

Unusually for meetings of national emissaries in Brussels — the main forum where governments’ officials discuss EU matters — there are no aides or officials present during the meeting. The secrecy is likely an attempt to prevent any leaks or knowledge of the discussions from going public ahead of today’s House of Commons no-confidence vote.

Today’s meeting is the first time ambassadors will have a chance to meet after the withdrawal agreement was comprehensively rejected.

Mrs May responds

The prime minister is responding to Mr Corbyn’s remarks.

She says that this is a simple question: should the next step be a general election? I believe that is the worst thing we could do. It would deepen division when we need unity, bring chaos when we need certainty, and delay when we need to move forward.

At this crucial moment in our nation’s history an election is not in the national interest, Mrs May says.

“Parliament must finish the job”

Mrs May says that voters want MPs to deliver Brexit. An election would mean extending Article 50 and delaying Brexit for who knows how long.

An SNP MP asks Mrs May, “Won’t you just go?”. She responds that he will have his chance to vote on that later today.

John Baron, a Tory MP, intervenes to laud the Tories’ record in office. Mrs May says that he is right. Since 2010 the Conservatives have turned the economy around, she says.

Another Conservative backbencher says that we should also rule out a second referendum. Mrs May says that an election would cause a delay and we had a referendum in 2016; it is incumbent on this parliament to deliver on that vote.

Show of Tory strength

In another intervention, a Conservative MP accuses Mr Corbyn of opportunism and says the Eurosceptic European Research Group faction of Tories will vote with her tonight. There have been several supportive interventions from Mrs May’s party, an attempt at a show of strength from what is in reality a very divided party.

Mrs May responds that Mr Corbyn’s actions are not going to help deliver Brexit.

A Labour MP urges Mrs May to work out how to unite the country. Mrs May says that she will hold discussions across the House of Commons about the way forward. The first priority is to debate the motion of no confidence. She is confident the government will retain the confidence of the House. When that happens she will set out the next steps.

So it sounds as though we can expect Mrs May to set out her plans for the next few days after the vote tonight, if she wins it.

Which Scarlet Pimpernel will come?

Circling back to Jeremy Corbyn opening the no-confidence debate, one Conservative MP compares the Labour leader to the double-life character in Baroness Orczy’s 1905 novel to illustrate what his opponents see as his catch-all stance on Brexit.

If all-party talks on Brexit commence, George Freeman asks, “which Scarlet Pimpernel will come? The leader of the opposition who campaigns for Remain in London and the South East or the leader of the opposition who campaigns for Brexit up North?”

Labour’s position?

We do not know what position Labour would take on Brexit if there was an election, Mrs May says. In the last election in 2017 more than 80 per cent of voters backed parties that had promised to deliver Brexit.

A Tory MP intervenes to say that Mr Corbyn would vote against his own plans if they were put forward by the Conservatives. Mrs May agrees, saying that Mr Corbyn has made a number of contradictory statements on Brexit.

A Labour MP asks whether Mrs May is willing to stand up for her record on policing and crime. This is just an early example of what we will probably hear more of this afternoon: grievances about the government’s track record on various other issues being rolled into the germane issue, which is primarily Brexit.

Mrs May reiterates her plans to work with MPs across the House if she wins the vote tonight. She then runs through the top lines of her deal, which MPs rejected last night.

An SNP MP asks which red lines Mrs May is willing to compromise on in order to get a deal through. Mrs May responds that the key thing Parliament needs to do is deliver a Brexit that reflects the 2016 vote.

“Scuppering parliament’s mandate”

A Conservative MP argues that “too many MPs” are trying to scupper the House of Commons’ mandate to deliver the decision of the British people. Mrs May agrees, saying that MPs must act on the decision that the public made.

If her talks bear fruit, she will then go back to Brussels and communicate the results to the EU27, Mrs May says. It would be strange for MPs to vote against that approach impossible later today by voting in favour of Mr Corbyn’s no-confidence motion, she argues.

Labour MP Angela Eagle says that Mrs May is making the same assertions as she did before yesterday’s vote, as though the vote never happened. The Downing Street spokesperson said earlier that any discussions have to start from the red lines she has set; the time has come for her to show flexibility on her red lines and hold a genuine discussion.

Mrs May says she is articulating the will of the people and any deal has to reflect that.

The people of the country put their trust in the PM and in return you have to deliver their wishes, Mrs May says.

Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP, says Mrs May is talking as though she lost by 30 votes yesterday, not 230. Her refusal to waver on her red lines will make talks with MPs impossible. Is she ruling out a customs union?

Mrs May says she wants to see what the British people voted for — an end to free movement, an independent trade policy, ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ.

The red lines

The red lines reflect the promises made before the referendum, a supportive Conservative MP intervenes to say. Mrs May says that is the point she is trying to make.

Ken Clarke, the veteran pro-EU ex-chancellor, says nobody has ever cited the customs union or trade barriers as a reason for voting to leave the EU. Is it not the case that nowhere in the world two developed countries are able to have an open border without some form of customs union?

Mrs May says there were various reasons people voted to leave. But she believes they did want to have a good trading relationship with our neighbours, but they also want to improve trading relationships with the rest of the world. Her deal would have delivered that, she says.

Tories’ record

Mrs May has now moved on to the Conservatives’ record on the economy. We inherited a struggling economy, she says. Since then, we have turned this country round. She is listing the government’s achievements.

A Labour MP intervenes to cite a list of problems including food banks, homelessness and poverty statistics.

Mrs May responds that a strong economy is no use unless we use it to build a fairer society. She is now listing aspirational policy goals which sound pretty similar to her 2017 election manifesto.

A Liberal Democrat MP intervenes to say that we need to clarify with the British people what they voted for in the referendum, rather than making assumptions. People voted to leave the EU because they were happy with various aspects of this country.

Mrs May says that when she became PM, she made exactly that point. Some people wanted a change in how politics delivered for them. Some felt that politicians weren’t listening to them. That is why it is so important that MPs deliver on the Brexit that people voted for.

A Conservative MP comes in with a supportive intervention, attacking Labour for its lack of confidence in the British people. Another Tory has a supportive point on the Conservatives’ environmental track record.

Number 10 muddies the waters

The FT’s Jim Pickard has just come from a briefing by Number 10 after prime minister’s questions. He says the Downing St spokesman appeared to use the briefing to make sure May survives the confidence vote this afternoon by trying to keep her hardline Brexiter Tory colleagues and the DUP onside.

The Downing St spokesman left journalists stumped by heavily hinting that Theresa May would not tolerate a customs union – seen in Westminster as the key to unlocking a “Soft Brexit” compromise such as a Labour’s permanent customs union or Norway-Plus. “We want the freedom to do a trade deal,” he said, a heavy hint that a customs union will not fly with the prime minister.

He also tried to play down the idea that Mrs May seemed to suggest during PMQs that extending Article 50 could be possible if Britain came up with a new, agreed deal. “I think the prime minister started the answer by saying it is government policy to leave the EU on the 29th of March,” he said.

He also puzzled journalists by seeming to suggest that Mrs May’s first priority in reaching a cross-party consensus would be talking to rebel Tory MPs and the 10 DUP MPs. “The focus is on talking to our Conservative colleagues and to our confidence and supply partners,” he said.

There was no mention of Labour’s 256 MPs. But, and it is a big but, that message could change as early as tomorrow. For now the priority for Mrs May is getting through tonight’s vote of no confidence, and that means keeping the ERG and DUP on board. Once that hurdle is cleared, don’t be surprised if the tone starts to shift in a genuinely more conciliatory direction.

As a side note, the PM has just said in the Commons that she intends to engage with senior Labour figures although she added she “doubted” the leader of the opposition would want to engage.

Future aspirations

In between the interventions, Mrs May is listing her ambitions for future policy — industrial policy, healthcare, social injustice, gender pay, mental health, the criminal justice system, education …

The Conservatives will go on doing what is right for the country and right for the people, she says — that is the approach that has underpinned our Brexit negotiations.

She wants to engage with colleagues across the House, the question is whether the Labour leadership will engage. Brexit requires pragmatic statesmanship, the Leader of the Opposition has not shown this.

She cited Labour frontbenchers’ references to the party’s Brexit policy as “constructive ambiguity” — this is in fact not being straight with the British people, the PM says.

Last night she thought Mr Corbyn might surprise us, because he said we had to be for something, not just opposed to the withdrawal agreement. At that point she thought he was going to unveil his alternative, but nothing came. He is still facing both ways on freedom of movement and won’t be drawn on even the question of whether he would campaign to leave the EU if there is a new referendum.

The government by contrast has no doubt about its position, Mrs May says.

May bids to fuel Labour divisions

Will the PM consider contacting the EU27 and asking for legal changes to the backstop, a Tory MP asks.

Mrs May says the discussions with MPs will identify the issues that would secure the support of the House and she will then take those issues to the European Parliament.

A Labour MP says that Mrs May tried to stop MPs from being able to play a role in Brexit when she went to the Supreme Court last year. MPs have experienced nothing but hostility from the PM, he says.

Mrs May responds that she has taken questions in the House many times — 24 hours in the last three months of 2018. But there is more to being PM than that. Mr Corbyn is asking the House to accept that he could be the next PM. So how would he have handled the big challenges that Mrs May has faced in the last few years? She lists incidents such as the Russian novichok poisoning, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the role of Nato, unilateral disarmament, links with Irish republicans. Mr Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party has been a betrayal of everything that party has stood for, she says.

Look at what he has done to his party, Mrs May adds, referring to the Labour antisemitism row. What he has done to his party is a national tragedy; what he would do to the country would be a national calamity.

MPs’ personal security

Anna Soubry, the pro-Remain Tory, intervenes. She says that MPs have been excluded in a meaningful way at the outset from being able to help determine the principles on which a Brexit deal should be negotiated. She lists the personal security threats that MPs have faced. Would the PM make it clear that it would be wrong for anyone to be intimidated simply for being true to what they believe is in the national interest?

Mrs May responds that the experiences of Mrs Soubry and others are appalling. Everybody should be able to express their views and not feel they will be subject to intimidation, harassing or bullying, she says.

There has been an increased police presence in Westminster following an incident earlier this month where Ms Soubry was abused by a group of Brexit supporters who she said were “roaming around Westminster intimidating people”.

“A cage of red lines”

An MP says that Mrs May has constructed a “cage of red lines” in her Brexit negotiations and today she has offered no information about how her red lines will change. So how can MPs continue to have confidence in her?

Mrs May says she will talk to MPs across the spectrum to find out what will secure the support of the House for the way we deliver Brexit. She was about to say that if Mr Corbyn wins his vote, he will then damage our economy and wreck our country.

Now Mrs May is wrangling with Labour MPs about their track record during the financial crisis. Tempers are getting heated and the Speaker has to intervene to ask for calm.

This is Britain’s biggest political crisis of modern times

The FT’s political commentator Robert Shrimsley has put his thoughts on video about the fallout from the heavy defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal last night, where she couldn’t even command the support of a third of all MPs. He concludes that May still looks like a PM who is trying to keep control of the Brexit process as she knows she will win today’s no confidence vote.

You can watch the video here

“A historic moment”

We are living through a historic moment for our nation, Mrs May says. We need to bring the country together. I don’t believe a referendum or an election is the way to do that; we need to find a way to do it in this House. The government is fighting the social injustices that have blighted people’s lives. As we leave the EU we must raise our sights to the kind of country we want to be. A nation that can respond to its people’s call for change. Improving people’s lives is our mission, it is what we are doing and with the backing of the House tonight it is what we will continue to do. I know we have the confidence of the country; now we ask for the confidence of the House.

With that rousing cry, she sits down.

Markets little moved

Investors are taking the political drama in their stride, our markets reporter Michael Hunter says:

The pound is holding its nerve after a volatile run around yesterday’s vote, ticking down 0.1 per cent to $1.2849. Investors continue to expect that a disorderly Brexit will be avoided, and have moved back out of the relative safety of UK government debt, sending the yield on benchmark 10-year gilts up almost 7 basis points to 1.326 per cent. It fell just under 4bp on Tuesday, amid overall demand for the paper.

London’s FTSE 100 continues to underperform its continental peers in afternoon trade, down 0.6 per cent against a rise of 0.3 per cent for the Europe-wide Stoxx 600. Consumer goods stocks exporting to Europe have made notable falls, with Reckitt Benckiser down almost 3 per cent and Diageo, the maker of Guinness, falling more than 1 per cent.

A brief guide to the confidence vote

James Blitz, the FT’s Whitehall editor, has put together an explainer of what will happen in the vote tonight, in which he concludes that it “would require an extraordinary foul-up by the Tory whips’ office for the government to lose”.

You can read it here

Scottish attack

Ian Blackford of the SNP is responding to Mrs May’s remarks. He says that he fears we have a government that is seeking to run down the clock, to drive parliament to the margins and ensure we crash out of the EU with no deal. Everyone should recognise the consequences of that; the government should take the risk of that off the table.

The government has shown a lack of humility, he says. People are hurting after 10 years of austerity from Conservative government. The economy will be weaker if we leave the EU and the government knows that. We have a responsibility to say to the people that there is a duty to go back to vote again because nobody, however they voted in the referendum, voted to make themselves poorer. It is shameful we are not being honest with the people of this country, Mr Blackford says.

City attacks parliament over defeat

Away from parliament, senior figures in the City of London have rounded on the “absurd” and “bitterly frustrating” failure of MPs to support the prime minister’s Brexit deal, with many financiers now pushing for the EU withdrawal process to be frozen.

The FT’s Patrick Jenkins has consulted members of the FT City Network — a panel of more than 50 top executives — which are stepping up their pressure for the Article 50 trigger to be revoked and another referendum staged.

Click here for more on this story

The debate is under way

The leaders of the major political parties have now had their say in the opening exchanges of this no-confidence debate. There will be several hours in which MPs of all parties will have their chance to make points both for and against the motion of no confidence in the government.

Although this debate has been triggered by the Brexit process, the nature of the considerations that MPs will raise are much broader. From what we’ve heard so far, it is likely that Conservative MPs will focus on the government’s track record, while MPs of other parties will seek to set out what they claim are government failures across a number of policy areas.

We’re also likely to see opposition MPs attacking each other’s parties — for example, Ian Blackford of the SNP has just launched a stinging attack on Labour, saying that Jeremy Corbyn should have gone for a vote of no-confidence earlier and that there is no such thing as a “jobs-first” Brexit (that phrase is a core part of Labour’s EU policy).

The vote is expected at 7pm this evening.

The view from Christchurch, Dorset

“My constituents are looking eagerly towards the prospect of having no deal on the 29th of March,” says Christopher Chope, the longstanding holder of the incredibly safe Conservative seat in Christchurch, Dorset.

Christchurch is a Brexit heartland, having backed Leave by about two to one votes in 2016. Yet Mr Chope’s words serve as a reminder of the task Mrs May has to unite her own party.

David Cameron speaks

Former prime minister David Cameron, who called the 2016 referendum, was doorstepped by the BBC earlier today while out for his morning jog.

Making to run off after the first question, the suntanned Mr Cameron then turns back towards the microphone when asked: “Do you regret calling the referendum?”

Mr Cameron says:

It was a promise I made two years before the 2015 general election.

It was included in a manifesto, it was legislated for in parliament.

Obviously I regret that we lost that referendum. I deeply regret that.

I was leading the campaign to stay in the European Union.

I regret the difficulties and problems we have been having in trying to implement the result of that referendum.

Parliamentary Brexit committee suggests way forward

The Brexit committee, chaired by Labour’s Hilary Benn, has published its report laying out the options that MPs now have following the heavy defeat of Mrs May’s deal on Tuesday. Assuming the prime minister wins the no-confidence vote she has to present a “plan B” to MPs by next Monday.

The report has identified four options:

1. To hold another vote on Mrs May’s deal

2. To leave the EU with no deal on March 29

3. The government could seek to re-negotiate the deal to achieve a specific outcome. It is worth noting that the EU27 insist this is not an option

The main renegotiation possibilities would be:

a) Seeking changes to the text in the Withdrawal Agreement on the Northern Irish backstop arrangements
b) Seeking a Canada-style deal;
c) Seeking to join the European Economic Area and remain in a customs union with the EU or a variation on this.

4. Parliament could decide to hold a second referendum to allow the British people to decide either which kind of Brexit deal they want or whether they wish to remain in the EU.

Mr Benn said:

The House of Commons needs to see if there is a consensus for a different approach and holding a series of indicative votes as soon as possible will help us to do that

Fink backs second referendum

Our US markets editor Robin Wigglesworth reports that Larry Fink, the head of BlackRock, has commented on the British political situation.

BlackRock is the world’s biggest investment group and a major employer in the City of London.

Mr Fink told Robin in an interview on Wednesday: “Another referendum is probably not a bad outcome.”

Extremism “taking over” British politics

Pro-EU Tory MP Anna Soubry has warned that extremism is “taking over” British politics.

Speaking in the House of Commons during the debate over the no-confidence motion, Mrs Soubry was critical of what she characterised as political extremism on both sides of the spectrum.

She said that the country should fear the far left, which have taken over the front bench of the Labour party.

She also said that the PM had the opportunity to work cross-party from the beginning but instead she pandered to a part of the Conservative party that “do not represent the pragmatic, one-nation Conservative party that I joined”.

If we ever lose that sensible centrism, we will not succeed in winning again, especially among young people, Mrs Soubry said.

She has faced high-profile attacks from Eurosceptic protesters in recent weeks, including threats to her personal safety.

The view from the continent

EU ministers have indicated they could accept a delay in Brexit, but that may come with conditions attached, according to FT reporters.

Previously, the consensus among EU governments was they would only contemplate pushing out the March 29 Article 50 deadline to allow for a UK general election or another referendum.

Now, some European politicians, particularly in Germany, have adopted a more accommodating tone on giving the UK time to craft a deal that could command a parliamentary majority.

You can read the full story here.

An update from Brussels

Our Brussels correspondent Mehreen Khan reports:

A hastily convened meeting of EU27 ambassadors and the European Commission has just come to an end. The closed door gathering of emissaries is the first time diplomats from national capitals have met to discuss the way forward since Mrs May’s deal was trounced by the House of Commons.

One diplomat familiar with the discussion said the EU would make make no suggestions about granting an extension to Article 50 after March until the UK formally asks for a delay. Doing so would need an extraordinary Brexit summit.

Martin Selmayr, the commission’s top civil servant who is in charge of no-deal planning, also told national representatives that a senior commission official would soon be visiting all 27 capitals to assess the state of their contingency plans for a hard Brexit.

Currency market mulls Brexit delay

Although sterling has remained pretty calm in the last couple of days, one part of the currency market suggests that investors’ expectations of a delay in Britain’s departure from the EU are rising, reports our currencies correspondent Eva Szalay.

Shifts in the options market provide a sign of one tentative conclusion: Brexit will be delayed. In December, derivatives markets showed that investors were most nervous about price swings for the pound within a one-month timeframe, but these expectations have been pushed out to between six and nine months, following the resounding parliamentary rejection of the UK prime minister’s Brexit plans on Tuesday.

That means that increasingly, investors expect big moves in sterling to come after the current March 29 deadline for departure.

“We are seeing more demand for topside sterling trades as people are pricing out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit,” said Julian Weiss, a director in Nomura’s currencies options team.

You can read the full story here.

Macron explains Brexit options to French voters

There have been acres of analysis across the British media on last night’s savaging of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, writes James Blitz, the FT’s Whitehall editor. But French President Emmanuel Macron has come up with his own pithy analysis of what happened in the Commons and where the British are heading with Brexit. Put simply, his analysis boils down to four points.

1.The Brits will contemplate a no deal Brexit. But they will realise it’s too painful.

2. So they will go back to Brussels, try to get a better deal and hold a second Commons vote. They won’t get very far with the EU.

3. So they’ll delay Article 50 beyond the European elections in May.

4. And in the meantime, Britain’s leaders will try and work out how to tell the British people they were lied to in the 2016 referendum.

You can watch the French president’s analysis (with English subtitles) here:

An hour and a quarter or so to go . . . .

MPs on both sides of the Commons continue to trade barbs, with Conservative backbenches rallying behind the prime minister and attacking Labour’s “paleo-marxist” leadership as they generally avoid the issue of the heavy Brexit defeat yesterday (unless they are hardcore Remainers). Labour MPs in contrast keep the focus on the prime minister’s failure to deliver a Brexit deal. All this after Mrs May earlier suggested she would be seeking a cross-party consensus on a way out of the biggest political crisis on modern British history.

As the FT’s chief political correspondent, Jim Pickard, points out on Twitter:

only Westminster could begin a ‘new era’ of cross-party co-operation by holding today’s Commons debate which involves Labour and the Tories viciously rubbishing each other for hours on end

Just a reminder that we expect the vote of no confidence just after 7pm.

What the nation wants

While MPs prepare to vote this evening, let’s have a quick look at what the latest polling tells us that the British public thinks about the current situation.

As we highlighted yesterday, voters are broadly happy with the PM’s performance – she’s doing better at this stage in her premiership than any previous PM in the last four decades other than Tony Blair, this Ipsos Mori polling shows.

However this Survation data from Tory Party members suggests that Theresa May has some doubters in her own party. Although a majority of those surveyed want her to continue in the job, a third of those surveyed last month said they would like MPs to vote against her in a confidence vote.

William Hague says Brexit crisis could lead to snap election

While Theresa May is expected to win the vote of no confidence in about an hour, thereby depriving Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of his wish to trigger a general election, a former leader of the Conservative party has been telling City figures that an election could still happen.

The FT’s political editor, George Parker, reports that William Hague has told clients of Citigroup on Wednesday that the Brexit crisis may lead to a snap general election, a view shared by a number of senior ministers in Theresa May’s government.

Although Theresa May has insisted the next election will not take place until 2022, senior Tories are now openly discussing the idea of a new poll to break the deadlock at Westminster on Brexit.

According to one person briefed by the Conservative party grandee, Mr Hague said: “The media are underplaying the chances of a general election in the coming weeks.”

We will have a full story on this later

Voters are not keen on a fresh election

Given the growing chatter about the prospect of a fresh general election, what do the voters think?

After their 2017 drubbing, which saw them lose their majority, Conservative MPs have to date been very reluctant to go to the polls. And it seems that the public agree with them – just 29 per cent think that the government should step down and there should be a general election, according to this poll published today by YouGov.

Nearly half of those surveyed want the government to remain in office. However, there are big divides within that overall figure. Remain voters are split over what should happen, while Leave voters are much more supportive of the government. Although it’s unsurprising that the government has strong support from Conservative voters, it’s notable that nearly a quarter of Labour voters also think that the Tories should soldier on.

Eurosceptics’ warning to May

Our political correspondent Laura Hughes has been talking to some Eurosceptic MPs. She reports:

Eurosceptic MPs are warning Theresa May against working with Labour to get her deal across the line.

One MP warns: “If the prime minister reaches out to agree with the Labour leadership on say customs Union membership, she risks destroying the Conservative party. This is serious.

“She would smash this party to pieces the way the party members are feeling, given that they would not believe we were delivering Brexit.”

FT: May must “put country before party”

The FT’s editorial on Brexit has just been published. It calls on the prime minister to “put country before party” and take a non-partisan approach to deliver Brexit.

It says:

Too much of the Brexit process has been dictated by hardline Brexiters who desire a clean break with the bloc, and to hell with the consequences. They will never be satisfied. The Tories have been divided for three decades on the Europe question. Far from healing, these splits are growing. So the prime minister is right to try to pursue a cross-party coalition. She must make serious overtures to moderates in the opposition parties who share her view that crashing out of the EU is the worst possible outcome for the country.

You can read the full editorial here.

Final speeches

We are now onto the final part of the debate, before the vote is held in about half an hour. Mrs May is back on the front bench again. Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson is addressing MPs now. Environment secretary Michael Gove will then respond for the government.

Tom Watson attacks May for her failure

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, is summing up the debate for Labour. He says he has “no doubt” Theresa May acted out of a sense of public duty but says she has failed and that “failure is hers alone.”

he adds: “If she had sat down and reflected on her defeat last night she should have resigned.” He accuses her of defying mathematics, with no authority and no Plan B.

He says the heavy defeat last night is not “a mere flesh wound” – channelling an old Monty Python sketch.

He accuses her of overseeing a “failed Brexit process” and tells MPs the choice they face tonight is whether they allow this “failed prime minister to return to Brussels to face yet another humiliation for Britain”.

Mrs May has treated members of the Commons on all sides with “disdain” and has at every turn chosen “division over unity”. He blames her for trying to placate the eurosceptic wing of her party rather than talking to Labour about how to achieve the best Brexit deal.

Mrs May lacks the authority on the world scale to get a deal done, he argues. He says the country feels “genuinely sorry for the prime minister, I feel sorry for the prime minster but she cannot confuse sympathy for sustained support.

Gove responds

The environment secretary Michael Gove is now speaking to defend the government.

He has embarked on an attack on Labour. He says that Mr Watson did not once mention Mr Corbyn, the leader of the Opposition, in his speech. Mr Gove calls Mr Corbyn “the worst possible person to lead the Labour Party” at this time.

Mr Gove then attacks Ian Blackford, the Westminster leader of the SNP. He did not mention fisheries, he says. Brexit offers the opportunity to escape the common fisheries policy, he says.

He then addresses the Liberal Democrats. Sir Vince Cable said he regretted the referendum, but they were the first party to say we should have a referendum.

Mr Gove then moves on to the government’s economic record. He cites foreign direct investment statistics. He cites a series of businesses which he says have relocated to Britain. He talks about job creation and public service investment, educational statistics and poverty reduction, NHS investment and national security.

Challenge to Labour

Mr Gove has gone back onto the attack against Mr Corbyn. He wants to leave NATO and unilaterally disarm, he says. No way should that man become our prime minister, Mr Gove says. He then criticises Mr Corbyn on a series of foreign policy and national security issues.

Mr Corbyn would not stand up for this country in negotiations with the EU, Mr Gove says. He then moves on to the threats which some Labour MPs have faced, saying Mr Corbyn cannot protect his own MPs or the proud traditions of the Labour Party. So we cannot have faith in him to lead this country, Mr Gove says.

He finishes amid a full-on shouting match as Labour MPs take offence at his strong criticism of their leader.

Vote commences

The Speaker has put the question and called the vote. MPs are now heading to the division lobbies.

How your MP voted

As soon as the data becomes available (a few minutes after the result is known), you will be able to check how your MP voted on our interactive page, here.

The numbers

What kind of a result might we expect?

The Conservatives have 317 MPs, while the DUP has 10. Given that pro-Brexit Tory faction the European Research Group has said it will back the prime minister, as has the DUP, she should pick up the vast majority of those two parties – a potential total of 327.

Labour has 256 MPs, the SNP has 35 and the Liberal Democrats have 10. That means a likely no-confidence vote of at least 302.

There are also 8 independent MPs, 4 Plaid Cymru MPs and a Green MP (Sinn Fein has 7 MPs but they don’t take their seats). Mrs May is likely to face opposition from most of those too, so that takes the no-confidence vote to a possible 315.

In the febrile atmosphere of British politics today there are however plenty of MPs who could rebel against their party line. So it’s not necessarily a shoe-in for Mrs May.

Emoticon May survives vote

The votes are in: those in favour of the motion, 306; those against, 325.

The no-confidence motion is defeated. The government had a majority of 19.

“Confidence in the government”

I do not take this result lightly, Mrs May says. The government will continue its work to deliver the result of the referendum. This duty is shared by every member of this House.

She invites leaders of the other parties to meet with her individually as soon as tonight, to seek common ground. We will return to the House on Monday to table an amendable motion on the way forward, she says.

I stand ready to work with any member of this House to deliver Brexit and ensure this House retains the confidence of the British people, she says.

Call off no-deal threat, says Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn responds to Mrs May, saying that last night the House rejected the government’s deal. The government must remove the threat of no-deal before there can be any discussions about the way ahead, he says.

SNP to enter talks

Ian Blackford of the SNP welcomes the offer of talks. He says the SNP will work constructively with the government but it is important to make it clear to the PM that a second referendum has to be on the table.

Recap: May wins vote

Theresa May has won a vote of no confidence in her government, but she struggled to secure progress on breaking the Brexit deadlock in parliament.

Mrs May survived the attempted coup by 325 votes to 306 after a day in which Cabinet ministers openly defied her by refusing to rule out keeping the UK in a customs union with the EU.

Both Conservative Eurosceptics and the Democratic Unionists MPs who prop up her government pledged their support for Mrs May because neither wants a general election.

Mr Corbyn told MPs that Mrs May had “lost control” and that the 2011 Fixed-term Parliaments Act “was never intended to prop up a zombie government”.

Lib Dem strategy

Our political correspondent Henry Mance reports:

The Liberal Democrats have written to Jeremy Corbyn, saying that they would not support repeated confidence votes – an attempt to coerce the Labour leader into backing a second Brexit referendum. They said:

“Liberal Democrats will take any genuine opportunity to work with others to bring this government down. But spurious further attempts at no confidence motions right now would only facilitate Jeremy Corbyn’s ongoing procrastination. The Labour Conference, Labour MPs, and Labour members all want a People’s Vote. It’s time for Corbyn to choose – does he back Brexit or does he back the people?”

Echo of the 2016 referendum

Our chief political correspondent Jim Pickard observes that the result is an echo of the 2016 EU referendum, given that the split among MPs is 52% vs 48%.

The path ahead

Mrs May will embark on meetings with the leaders of the other Westminster parties as early as tonight. She is seeking to establish what Brexit outcome would command the support of a majority of MPs. Based on those discussions she plans to bring an amendable motion to the House on Monday, which would commit MPs to a specific plan. That could give her something she could then take back to Brussels for further discussions. The challenge she faces, of course, is to find something that is amenable both to a majority of MPs and also to the EU27.

MPs react

MPs are reacting to the result of the vote.

Liam Fox, the trade secretary, says that MPs’ vote last night means that no-deal is still a possibility. That was MPs’ choice, he says. That doesn’t sound very positive for the opposition parties’ attempts to get the Tories to rule out no-deal.

Role of DUP

Mrs May won tonight’s vote with a majority of 19. The DUP – which backed the government – has 10 MPs. That makes its importance in propping up the Conservative government extremely clear.

Khan condemns result

London mayor Sadiq Khan has condemned the outcome of the vote.

For those without access to Twitter, it says:

Deeply disappointed that Conservative MPs have put political interest above the national interest tonight. The Govt needs to withdraw Article 50 immediately. If we cannot have a general election – the British public must have the final say – with the option to stay in the EU.

We are amenable to talks, says Labour’s Watson

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, tells the BBC in the immediate aftermath of the vote that the party is “amenable to talks” but says the party has some red lines, including rejecting a no deal and guarantees on workers rights, that they would need assurances from the prime minister on those before Jeremy Corbyn could be expected to have constructive talks. Were Mrs May to give the commitment on ruling out no deal it would enrage the Tory hardline Brexiters in the European Research Group led by Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured earlier today, below).

Labour and a second referendum

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson is further discussing the party’s position on Sky News. He says they are not asking Mrs May to rule out a swath of options but they want some comfort that there will be a serious conversation about the problems with her plan. They are seriously looking at the option of cross-party talks. The option of a second referendum is always on the table and I’m sure it’s something we’ll be talking about in the days and weeks ahead, he says.

How the two votes went

Our interactive team have come up with this chart, showing the breakdown of the votes in both yesterday’s Brexit deal and today’s no-confidence motion. The Conservative Party split yesterday, but united today.

How your MP voted

The data on MPs’ votes is now available and our interactive team have built a useful tool to check how your MP voted. Have a look on our interactive page here.

That’s it for our live coverage

There is still no confirmation of which, if any, party leaders Theresa May will meet this evening after surviving the no confidence vote. Both Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP’s Ian Blackford have put down preconditions before any meeting. Corbyn demanded May took no deal off the table and Blackford insisted she had to commit to scrap the March 29 departure date by extending Article 50 as well as holding a second referendum.

We are going to wrap up our live coverage as the political crisis in the UK continues. There is still no sign of a consensus in Parliament for a Brexit deal as the clock ticks down to the UK’s departure date.

Thanks for joining us