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.
Mark Spencer has reportedly rung round to inform them that they have lost the Whip.
Margot James resigned as a minister following her rebellion. Meanwhile, the Chancellor joined Gauke and Clark in failing to support the Government.
The high-ranking whip replaces Harrington, who stepped down in March.
It is a telling sign that several PPS positions – usually the first step on the ladder for ambitious MPs – have gone unfilled since November.
It passed its Third Reading by a single vote. Now the former Labour Minister’s anti-No Deal Bill is off to the Lords.
The list includes the three who resigned from the Government this evening – and Green, one of the Prime Minister’s oldest allies.
The proposal was rejected by 314 votes to 311. Boles, Gyimah, Spelman and Vaizey were among those to rebel. Plus Brine and Harrington.
“I fear that no deal would be part of a giant economic experiment that is championed by…a small minority of the Conservative Party.”
All credit to them for quitting on principle rather than, as the Cabinet “Gang of Three” did, defying the whip and staying on in Government.
Plus: The Chief Whip’s swift transformation from Francis Urquhart to Mr Bean. And: why I can’t bring myself to vote Tory in the local elections.
Though there may have been extenuating circumstances – namely, contradictory instructions from Number Ten and the Whips respectively.
Several Ministers helped to see off the Government’s best hope of avoiding a full-on crisis in the Party – and perhaps of saving Brexit too.
There’s no guarantee that it would return a Commons supportive of any deal that May might put before it.