As expected, Prime Minister Theresa May failed to muster enough MPs to support her Brexit bill. The government was defeated after a rebellion by 12 Tory MPs.
Despite a last-minute attempt to offer concessions to rebels, an amendment to the bill was backed by 309 to 305, BBC reported. Of the 12 Conservative MPs who voted against the government, eight are former ministers. One of them, Stephen Hammond, was sacked as Conservative deputy chairman in the aftermath of the vote.
“Tonight I put country and constituency before party and voted with my principles to give Parliament a meaningful vote,” he tweeted.
The government said it was “disappointed” at losing – its first defeat on Brexit – despite the “strong assurances” it had offered.
The defeat, on the eve of an EU summit where Mrs May and other leaders will discuss Brexit, came after opposition parties joined forces with Conservative rebels during a heated debate in the Chamber on the amendment.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said the defeat was “a humiliating loss of authority” for Mrs May.
The UK is due to leave the EU in March 2019, and negotiations are taking place on what their relationship will be in the future. The EU Withdrawal Bill is a key part of the government’s exit strategy.