MPs vote to delay Brexit until after March 29

MPs have tonight voted to delay Brexit past the March 29 deadline.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 5:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th March 2019, 6:38 pm
MPs announcing the result of the Brexit vote

The vote to extend the two-year Article 50 negotiation process beyond the scheduled date of March 29 was carried by 412 votes to 202.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "Her deal and no deal are no longer viable options. A deal can be agreed based on our alternative plan. I reiterate our support for a public vote not as political point scoring but as a realistic option to break the deadlock."

Prime Minister Theresa May was absent from the House of Commons for the evening's votes but she earlier told MPsBut Mrs May left no doubt that she opposes a lengthy delay, telling MPs: "I do not think that would be the right outcome. But the House needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken."

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Conservative MPs were given a free vote on Mrs May's motion, which proposes a one-off delay of Brexit day to June 30 if her Withdrawal Agreement is approved in a third "meaningful vote" ahead of next week's EU summit in Brussels.

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

Earlier, MPs decisively rejected an attempt to secure a second referendum on Brexit.

The House of Commons voted by 334 to 85 - a margin of 249 - against an amendment tabled by members of The Independent Group (TIG) of former Labour and Tory MPs, who quit their parties in part because of differences over EU withdrawal.

And by the far narrower margin of 314-312, MPs voted down a cross-party bid for Parliament to seize control of the Brexit process.

The cross-party amendment, tabled by MPs including Labour's Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper and Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, would have forced a set of "indicative votes" to determine the preferred Brexit outcome of the House of Commons.

The decision to press the referendum issue to a vote was opposed as premature by the People's Vote campaign, which said MPs should be focusing on the question of whether to seek a delay to Brexit.