The Prime Minister falls 14 votes short – and says that the Bill will be paused while he speaks to EU leaders.
It’s a surprisingly large Government majority: 24 independents and 19 Labour MPs voted with the Government.
There are now 15 independents, plus the Change UK factions and a smattering of pro-Brexit rebel Labour MPs.
She hopes to move quickly while Labour is splitting, get a quick gloss on the backstop, square the ERG with a hint of Malthouse later – and, hey presto, the deal will be done.
Frank Field, Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer and Kelvin Hopkins voted with the Government.
If the standard is as it now appears to be, May will have difficulty finding enough male Ministers to replace all those she will be required to sack.
Plus: What it was like being gay and a Tory – and being sexually assaulted in the “Brief Encounter” – during the vanished world of the 1990s.
The Government won by 326 votes to 290. Ken Clarke voted against the Programme Motion – the only Tory vote against the Bill earlier today.
Nicky Morgan also didn’t vote, along with Ben Howlett and Nick Herbert.
A handful of gains from the Liberal Democrats do little to disguise a total stalemate between Labour and the Tories in this region.
Bob Neil re-presents it for Second Reading today. Here are extracts from its Second Reading last time round