The government have narrowly won a vote on an amendment that makes a change to the wording of the customs bill which kills Theresa May’s plans for future trade with the EU.
MPs Voted 305-302, with Tory minister Guto Bebb resigning to vote against the government. Labour’s Brexiteers voted with the government clinching the victory for the Hard Brexiteers.
Tim Farron and Vince Cable did not vote.
The government voting for the amendment shows May has abandoned key parts of her chequers plan.
The vote shows how much power Hard Brexiteers still have despite a mass exodus from the cabinet last week.
The Tories had 14 rebels to Labour’s 3. Labour’s rebels were Field, Hoey and Stringer.
The bill itself has passed the house by a majority of 33. 318 voting for and 285 against. An amendment to stop the UK from joining the EU’s VAT regime was approved by 303 votes to 300.
Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief
This result shows one thing clearly, the PM still is controlled by the Hard Brexiteers in her party despite many resigning. Whilst May’s customs objective is frankly abysmal the fact the government has folded on its own policy shows how weak it has become, but with so few Tories needed to block legislation, May will find it very difficult to stand against ERG and the Hard Brexiteers. Labour’s rebels should also be noted, they may want Brexit at any costs but to miss a chance to inflict a defeat on the government is poor from them, and their whips.
But if Labour looked bad the Liberal Democrats looked worse, the last hope for Remainers didn’t vote.
How Labour’s amendment on staying in a customs union has less support than May’s plan is beyond me, the government had a 27 person majority on that amendment, I suspect if the votes would have switched orders the results could have been very different and leaves open the possibility that Labour may table a similar amendment should the bill return to the commons.