Thursday 17 January 2019 1:12 pm

Brexit deal live: UK would vote to remain in EU in a second referendum

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Hello and welcome to our Brexit vote live blog.

Stay tuned for reaction to Labour's no confidence vote yesterday, after Theresa May's Brexit deal slumped to a historic defeat in parliament on Tuesday night.

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What you need to know: The Prime Minister’s deal was defeated by a resounding 230 votes on Tuesday.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which May won by 19 votes following a rambunctious debate yesterday evening.

May has now said she wants to work cross-party to deliver Brexit, but Corbyn won't negotiate until May commits to avoiding a no-deal Brexit.

Read more: What happens now May has lost parliament's Brexit deal vote?

Additional reporting by James Booth and James Warrington

12.45pm: UK would vote to remain in EU in a second referendum

The UK would vote to stay in the EU in a second referendum, according to a new poll.

Brits would vote in favour of remaining part of the bloc by 56 per cent to 44 per cent who would choose to leave, the Yougov survey carried out yesterday and published today found.

That is a wider margin than the 2016 referendum that led to Brexit, in which Leave won the campaign by a margin of four percentage points – 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

“The Remain lead, 12 per cent, is the highest yet,” Peter Kellner, former president of Yougov, was quoted as saying by the People's Vote campaign, which commissioned the survey.

However, the public was split on whether Theresa May should stay on after parliament rejected her Brexit deal by 230 votes in a historic defeat for the government earlier this week.

Voters who believe May should stay to steer the Brexit ship comprised 38 per cent of the vote, compared to 42 per cent who would call on the Prime Minister to resign, while 20 per cent were undecided.

May has since postponed bringing her ‘Plan B’ Brexit deal to parliament until 29 January, after she makes an initial statement on it on Monday.

It comes as:

Tony Blair warns that Brexit faces an ‘inevitable’ delay beyond 29 March

France sets aside €50m to safeguard ports and airports in the event of a no-deal Brexit

10.30am: France sets €50m contingency plan in action for no deal

France has triggered a €50m (£44.24m) contingency plan to deal with the fallout from a no deal Brexit, according to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

The plan is designed to help ports and airports cope with any potential disruption caused by Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal on 29 March.

“What's certain is that the scenario of a no-deal Brexit is less and less unlikely. Thats why… I have decided to trigger the plan for a no-deal Brexit,” Philippe told reporters.

The news follows a speech yesterday by French President Emmanuel Macron in which he slammed the government's attempts to leave the bloc.

He said: “It’s a referendum that has been manipulated. Manipulated from the outside by a lot of what we call fake news, where everything and anything was said and now they are being told ‘figure it out yourselves'.”

Here’s the footage:

9.24am: Blair says a delay to Brexit is now 'inevitable'

Brexit faces an inevitable delay now Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been rejected by parliament, according to former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Asked on Radio 4’s Today programme if Blair believes Britain will no longer leave the EU on 29 March, the former Labour leader replied: “That’s inevitable now virtually whatever you do.”

“If I was the government now I would already be having discussions with Europe about the terms of an extension.”

Blair also blamed the Prime Minister for her deal failing in parliament earlier this week, saying she had asked for too much from Europe.

“For two years what Theresa May has tried to do is doi a cake and eat it where you have access to the Single Market and customs union without abiding by the rules and Europe said no to that,” he said.

“What she’s got to do now is take a step back run the options through parliament and parliament’s got to come to a decision.”

Parliament faces three options ranging from a Norway-style soft Brexit, a Canada-style hard Brexit or a second referendum, Blair said.

“I would say we need further time to clarify that or alternatively once you run that [process] and there’s a majority for a referendum … then of course you need the time to do that,” he added.

His comments come as chancellor Philip Hammond reportedly told business leaders that a no-deal Brexit option would be taken off the table to avoid the economic risks of the UK crashing out of the EU.


16 January

10.09pm: May says door remains open to Corbyn for Brexit talks

In a statement outside 10 Downing Street tonight Theresa May said her door remains open to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit talks. 

May said following the rejection of her Brexit deal: "We must all work constructively together to set out what parliament does want."

Adding: "That is why I am inviting MPs from all parties to come together to find a way forward."

She said she had held "constructive meetings" with the leader of the Liberal Democrats and the Westminster leaders of the SNP and Plaid Cymru but said Corbyn had not been willing to meet her. 

"I am disappointed that the leader of the Labour Party has so far chosen not to take part but our door remains open," she said. 

Following her victory by 19 votes in a no confidence motion this evening May had said she was willing to work with opposition parties to deliver a solution to Brexit.

However, responding in parliament, Corbyn said he would only enter talks if a no-deal Brexit was ruled out. 


8.50pm: Richard Branson calls on May to work cross-party to avoid no-deal Brexit

Virgin boss Richard Branson called on Prime Minister Theresa May to avoid a no-deal Brexit by working with opposition parties. 

8.18pm: City reaction to May's no confidence vote victory

Charles Hepworth, investment director at asset manager GAM

"If sterling has been battered by the Brexit referendum result, a win for Corbyn in the no-confidence vote and the prospect of a Labour win in an election would have made that seem like a walk in the park. Sterling’s reaction to May’s survival in the confidence vote shows the market’s worst fears have been averted for now. But, what next?"

A revised and watered-down deal getting through is probably the most likely scenario at the current time and a much softer Brexit seems to be the current expectation in markets. This scenario would require some kind of alignment with the EU single market regulation to avoid a hard Northern Irish border. But crucially was this what the electorate voted for in the original referendum? Politically it would be extremely messy.

“Other routes forward are being priced as lower probabilities now. There is very little chance of the UK parliament committing hari-kari and deciding that No Deal Brexit is the way to solve the current impasse. This would be economic suicide and result in a severe contraction in economic activity and a guaranteed recession. It is hard to see that this route will come to pass as there is no parliamentary majority for a no-deal cliff edge exit from the EU."

Neil Birrell, chief investment officer, Premier Asset Management

“The immediate reaction by the currency markets after the government’s defeat yesterday in the Brexit deal vote suggested that political risk had fallen, the chance of a no-deal leave had fallen, and the chance of a soft-leave or in fact, no-leave had risen.

"That carried on through today, when, unsurprisingly the vote of no confidence did not succeed. But we are in for another period of uncertainty whilst the government works out what to do. There are probably an unlimited number of possible scenarios and so speculating is pointless – although an outcome at one extreme or the other is more likely now. It is therefore difficult to see UK equities making much progress in the very short term, but if global markets move ahead the UK will follow to some extent.

"We believe the UK remains good value, but markets are driven by many factors, including sentiment about geopolitical risks like Brexit. Sterling is likely to remain volatile on news flow and we expect investors generally to stay out of UK equities and bonds until there’s clarity. But there seems to be a growing view that the UK equity market is good value and it may be time to buy.”


7.36pm: Corbyn says May must rule out a no-deal Brexit

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said before any talks with the government, Theresa May must rule out a no-deal Brexit. 

"Before there can be any positive discussions about the way forward, the government must remove clearly once and for all the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit," he said.

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party's parliamentary leader said the SNP welcomed the talks but also said all options had to be on the table.

"I welcome the offer of the talks from the Prime Minister," he said. 

But said: "The issue of extending article 50, of a people's vote and avoiding a no-deal have to be on the table."


7.26pm: May says she is willing to work with opposition parties to deliver Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May said she would work with opposition parties to deliver Brexit, havign won a no confidence motion by 19 votes.

"We have a responsility to identify a way forward that can secure the backing of the house. To that end I have proposed a series of meetings between senior parliamentarians and representatives of the government over the coming days and I would like to invite the leaders of the parliamentary parties to meet with me individually and I would like to start these meetings tonight," she said.

Adding: "I stand ready to work with any member of this house to deliver on Brexit, and to ensure this house retains the confidence of the British people."


7.18pm: May wins confidence vote by 19 votes

Theresa May has won the no confidence motion by 19 votes, with 306 voting yes and 325 voting no. 


7.00pm: Gove slams Corbyn's foreign policy record

Conservative environment minister Michael Gove slammed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's foreign policy record, including his presence at a wreath laying for terrorists who had carried out the Munich olympic attack.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy accused Gove of using the speech as a leadership bid.


6.55pm: Gove hails record foreign direct investment in UK under May

"This country remains the most successful country for foreign direct investment of any country in Europe," Conservative environment minister Michael Gove said.

He hailed Starbucks moving from Amsterdam to London and Chanel moving from Paris to London.

"The opposition should wake up and smell the coffee," he said, adding: "And all of this in the words of the BBC, despite Brexit."

6.45pm: Labour deputy leader Tom Watson says May must go as 'ultimately she has failed'

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has slammed Prime Minister Theresa May's premiership saying: "She has failed and I am afraid the failure is hers and hers alone."

He accused May of "defying the laws of mathematics," adding: "She is a Prime Minister without a majority for her flagship policy with no authority and no plan B."

He also critcised her personal and political skills

"She doesn't possess the neccesary skills, the political, skills, the empathy and most crucially the policy to lead this country any longer," he said.



6.25pm: DUP leader Arlene Foster says her party will back May

"We have had a useful discussion with the Prime Minister. These are critical times for the United Kingdom and we have indicated that first and foremost we will act in the national interest.

"Lessons will need to be learned from the vote in parliament. The issue of the backstop needs to be dealt and we will continue to work to that end.

"In keeping with our commitments in the confidence and supply agreement, which has benefitted every sector of society in Northern Ireland, the DUP is supporting the Government this evening so that we can concentrate on the real challenges ahead of us.

We will have further engagements in the coming days," she said.


4.17pm: Lib Dem leader: 'No deal must be stopped'

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, has told MPs this evening’s no confidence vote is justified, saying Theresa May and the government have shown “arrogance” on negotiations.

“Brexit, however done, is going to damage the economy,” he said, requesting clarity on halting chances of a no deal scenario and calling for a second referendum.

“No deal has to be stopped,” he said. “Then we have to get on to the fundamental question of how we get the endorsement from the public on how we move forward.”

Separately this morning, BBC reporters collared former Prime Minister David Cameron midway through a jog in London, and asked him whether he regretted calling the EU referendum in 2016.

He said: “I do not regret calling the referendum. It was a promise I made two years before the 2015 general election, it was included in a manifesto, it was legislated for in parliament.

“Obviously I regret that we lost that referendum. I deeply regret that.

“I was leading the campaign to stay in the European Union and obviously I regret the difficulties and problems we have been having in trying to implement the result of that referendum.”

And he jogged on.

Here’s the footage:

Meanwhile, here's a worrying thought:

3.20pm: Varadkar rules out time limit on Irish backstop

Irish leader Leo Varadkar has rejected suggestions of a time limit on the so called Irish backstop after Theresa May’s defeat last night.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin, he said: “Nobody has asked us to accept a time limit on the backstop because that misunderstands the whole purpose of the backstop.”

The Taoiseach said his government “profoundly regrets” May’s defeat last night. “It is not the outcome that we wanted,” he said.

Here's a picture taken by Channel 4 News reporter Andy Davies:

He added that Ireland’s plans for a no deal scenario would continue, and were “no longer contingency plans. They are being implemented by government.”

“Now businesses and other organisations – if they are not doing so – must do the same,” he said.

The onus was now on Westminster to come up with solutions MPs can support, he added.

He said he was happy to consider any changes to Britain’s negotiating red lines in negotiations, and that Europe’s position might change if Britain’s did..

“We’ve always said that if the UK were to modify its position — to change its red lines on issues like the customs union, issues like the single market — we then could talk about those issues,” he told reporters.

2.13pm: May responds to Corbyn's calls to resign, says she is 'confident' of parliament's support

Theresa May hit back at Corbyn’s calls for her to resign.

She said: “I believe that [a general election] is the worst thing we could do. It would deepen division when we need unity. It would bring chaos when we need certainty. It would bring delay when we need to move forward. I believe this house should reject this motion.

“The choices we face as a country won't change after four or five weeks campaigning for a general election.”

On tonight’s vote, she added: “I am confident the government will retain the confidence of this house.”

May is now taking questions from other MPs. Conservative Ken Clarke said: “Nobody has ever told me they voted to leave in order for us to leave the customs union or they wanted us to erect trade barriers between ourselves and the rest of Europe.”

She said people voted for a close trading relationship with the EU, but that they also wanted to establish new trade links elsewhere.

1.32pm: Corbyn opens no confidence vote by criticising ‘zombie government’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has opened the debate ahead of tonight’s no confidence vote by calling for the Prime Minister to trigger a general election.

“Yesterday’s historic and humiliating defeat was the result of two years of chaos and failure,” Corbyn said.

“This government is not capable of winning support on its core plan for the most vital issue facing this country. This Prime Minister has lost control and this government has lost ability to govern.”

He demanded that May and her government stand aside to allow the electorate to vote in a new leader.

“It’s time to resign and allow the people to elect a new parliament to deal with the issues facing this country,” he said, adding that May’s “zombie government” has delivered a “zombie deal” the UK doesn’t want.

May has come under pressure since losing yesterday’s vote by 230 votes to reach across the aisle and compromise with Labour to find a way forward.

However, Corbyn said he hasn’t received a call from May, adding: “There has been no offer of party talks.”

Meanwhile, Parliament.TV appears to be experiencing issues for some viewers.


11.22am: Sterling climbs as markets hope for a 'softer' Brexit

Sterling rose against the dollar this morning despite the government’s historic defeat in parliament yesterday.

Theresa May’s Brexit deal sank to a huge loss in the House of Commons last night that cemented the agreement’s unpopularity with a 230-vote margin.

The result has knocked half a per cent off the FTSE 100, which is currently at 6,861.69 points.

Nevertheless, the pound climbed as high as 1.289 against the dollar today after hovering around 1.284 early on following a drop to as low as 1.282 overnight.

Guy Foster, head of research at Brewin Dolphin, said the currency’s upward shift reflects a push for a softer Brexit.

The market is very good at recognising when historically unprecedented political events won’t change the likely future course of events,” he said. “Despite the headlines, investors are betting the UK moves towards a softer Brexit, and away from a no-deal Brexit.

“The chances of a delayed Brexit, or indeed no Brexit are also creeping higher.”

The rise also follows inflation falling to almost a two-year low in December, according to data released today.

The 2.1 per cent consumer price index rate comes closer to the Bank of England’s two per cent target.

However, John Goldie, a dealer at foreign exchange firm Argentex, warned investors not to get too carried away. 

"Sterling’s movement since the vote belies a confidence that the cliff edge has been avoided, but until it is unanimously agreed by the EU27, the pound should be wary of getting carried away with itself and setting itself up for another dramatic fall,” he said.

It comes as politicians attempt to pressure Theresa May into a softer Brexit, with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon saying the Prime Minister must move her “red lines” to achieve a deal.

Meanwhile, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier this morning said a different deal is possible if the UK abandons its key demands.

9.35am: UK must change its demands to secure Brexit deal, says EU

EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says it is "too early" to know the consequences of the vote after MPs voted to reject the Brexit deal and says the Irish border backstop arrangement "must remain credible"

The EU has told the UK it can have a different Brexit deal – but only if the UK changes its “red lines” in negotiations, according to Reuters.

Chief Brexit negotiator for the bloc, Michel Barnier, told the European Parliament this morning: “If the United Kingdom chooses to let its red lines change in future, and that it takes this choice for its advantage of the ambition of going beyond a simple but not negligible free trade accord, then the European Union would be ready immediately to … respond favourably.”

However, the EU has insisted that the UK cannot reshape its current deal, which was rejected in parliament last night by 230 votes, a record defeat for a government.

Currently the UK faces falling out of the EU with no deal if parliament cannot agree on a new path forward before the UK’s scheduled departure on 29 March.

Meanwhile, former Ukip leader and Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage has told Sky News that the UK is likely going to hold a second referendum on whether it leaves at all.

And former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind told Sky that the 29 March deadline will likely be pushed until July to give the UK some breathing room to find a deal.

9.06am: Barnier 'profoundly regrets' Brexit deal rejection as May faces no confidence vote

Michel Barnier has claimed that Theresa May’s Brexit deal – rejected by parliament by 230 votes last night – remains the best hopes

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator told the European Parliament this morning that “we regret profoundly this vote”.

Barnier added that it is “too early” to know what will happen after MPs voted down the deal, adding that the so-called Irish backstop provision “must remain credible”.

The politician also said the EU now fears a no-deal Brexit “more than ever”.

Meanwhile, House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom joined Barnier in backing May’s deal as “the only deal”, telling Sky News: “The EU has made very clear they're not about to reopen the negotiation and start again. We don't have time to start again.

“The EU needs to look very carefully at the vote last night and to understand themselves that we do need further commitments from them. They don't want no-deal either, that would not be good for them.”

No deal is what will happen on 29 March if parliament is unable to agree a different Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister has until 21 January to offer an alternative path forward to parliament.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last night tabled a vote of no confidence in May and her government following its record defeat, which will take place later today.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell downplayed the possibility of Labour winning that vote in an interview with Sky News this morning.

“If we don't win today, the key issue then is then trying to see whether or not we can agree some form of compromise agreement,” he said.

He added that proposals for a second referendum will be put to parliament if May is not “willing to talk”.

15 January

9.21pm: Political reaction to the Prime Minister's historic defeat

Justice minister David Gauke

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable

Shadow justice minister Richard Burgon

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker 

Leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon

European research group member and MP for Romford Andrew Rosindell


8.50pm: City reacts: 'The train has left the station… but we still don’t know where it is going.”

Peter Bevan, Linklaters' head of financial regulation

“UK businesses, including our financial services sector, will have to keep planning for that worst-case scenario of no deal until we are told otherwise.

"We need to cut through the noise to make sure that no matter what the outcome is, City businesses are focusing on what they need to be ready for, but that is still quite unknown. We are seeing varying degrees of preparedness.

"No deal has become the default position for many. It’s clear the train has left the station and we are all on it, but we still don’t know where it is going.”

Laith Khalaf, Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst

"Sterling gained ground following the vote, but only recovered ground it lost earlier in the day. Markets think a softer Brexit may start to take shape now the vote has failed, asparliament gains greater control of the process. This is a change in dynamic, as previously government failures have heightened expectations of a hard Brexit, and have weighed sterling down.

"Clearly there’s still no certainty to be had, and tomorrow’s vote of no confidence provides another pinch point for currency markets, so we can expect further swings in sterling as events develop.

"The reality is there’s no correct price for sterling until there’s greater resolution on the direction of Brexit, what we have right now is a middle ground between competing possibilities. Assuming Brexit does resolve itself one way or another, the pound will ultimately find a new level, but it’s not going to be a smooth journey."

Seema Shah, Principal Global Investor's investment strategist 

“Sterling has pared its earlier loss – this is not surprising. It raises the chances of a 'no Brexit' or, at the least, an extension of Article 50. Admittedly, the chances of a “no deal Brexit” may mathematically have also risen, but the market remains ever-hopeful that the government will not commit an error of such epic proportions.

"May is set to make a few tweaks to her deal and return to the commons on Monday. Realistically it will take a few attempts, but the most likely scenario in these impossibly uncertain times would be that her deal eventually gets through.

“Of course, Corbyn’s move to a 'no confidence vote' tomorrow mean that uncertainty reigns supreme. If the motion succeeds, sterling’s path could be a direct south as the risks of a general election would increase. The last thing the UK economy likely needs at this juncture is the prospect of Corbyn presiding over Brexit, mass nationalisation, rising corporation taxes and rising minimum wages. There is still danger ahead.”

8.07pm: City reacts to government's crushing Brexit defeat


Miles Celic, TheCityUK chief executive

“The outcome of today’s vote prolongs uncertainty and will continue to depress business confidence. The lack of clarity on the path to an orderly Brexit risks disruption and financial instability on both sides of the Channel. We urge the government and MPs to carefully consider the options without delay and put forward an economically sensible way ahead. A no deal outcome is not in the best interests of customers in the UK or the EU.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general

“Every business will feel no deal is hurtling closer. A new plan is needed immediately. This is now a time for our politicians to make history as leaders. All MPs need to reflect on the need for compromise and to act at speed to protect the UK's economy.”

Chris Cummings, Investment Association chief executive

“It is extremely disappointing that after such long negotiations the Brexit uncertainty continues.

“It is critical that every effort is made to avoid a no-deal exit from the EU, and the potential cliff-edge effects that this could bring. While asset managers have been working on no-deal contingency plans for a long time and are prepared for this scenario, it still remains the least desirable option for our industry, and for the millions of people who entrust us with their pensions and savings.

“It is imperative that the regulatory co-operation agreements are finalised so that firms can plan with certainty and the savings of millions of people in Europe can continue to be invested wisely and managed across borders. Given the uncertainty that today’s result brings, firms will continue to keep their no-deal contingency plans under review.”

Catherine McGuinness, City of London Corporation policy chair

“Parliament’s decision to reject the government’s deal means businesses across the UK will continue to face uncertainty regarding our relationship with the European Union.

“The government must now urgently set out its ‘Plan B’ to ensure we can secure a deal locking in a legally binding transition before 29 March.

“Financial stability must not be jeopardised in a game of high-stakes political poker. Politicians across all parties should work together pragmatically to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which would be a hugely damaging outcome for households and businesses on both sides of the Channel.

“In the meantime, it is critical that EU regulators urgently address cliff-edge issues such as contract continuity and data flows. These are issues that could disrupt cross-border financial services and prevent firms from serving their customers. We need firm action, not just rhetoric, to deal with these issues in the coming days and weeks.”


7.45pm: Labour tables a vote of no confidence in the government

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he has tabled a vote of no confidence in the government after its defeat by 230 votes.

He called the vote "the greatest defeat for a government since the 1920s."

He added: "The government has lost the confidence of this house and this country."

Prime Minister Theresa May said there would be time to debate the no confidence motion tomorrow.

7.41pm: Brexit deal defeated by 230 votes

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been decisively defeated by 230 votes. 


7.30pm: Baron amendment voted down

Conservative MP John Baron's amendment was defeated by a majority of 576 with 24 votes for and 600 against.


7.08pm: MPs vote on amendment to give the UK right to end Irish backstop

MPs vote on Conservative MP John Baron's amendment which gives the UK the right to end the Irish backstop with the agreement of the EU.


7.00pm: May says she will work harder to bring Parliament with her

"There are differences in this house today, but I believe we can come together as we go forwards, and let me reassure anyone who is in any doubt whatsoever, the government will work harder at taking parliament with us, as we move onto the next phase of the negotiations, we will be looking to work with parliament to seek that consensus," she said.



6.54pm: Theresa May says second referendum would lead to more divisions

"I believe we have a duty to deliver on the democratic decision of the British people, and to do so in a way that brings our country together. A second referendum would lead instead to further divisions, there would be no agreement to the question let alone the answer," she said.


6.50pm: Prime Minister Theresa May closes the debate

Prime Minister Theresa May rose to her feet amid cheers and jeers from the house.

"We have seen this house at its most passionate and vigorous," during the Brexit debate, she said.


6.40pm: Jeremy Corbyn says Labour will vote against the Brexit deal

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says the deal negotiated by the Prime Minister "does not meet the needs of the people of this country".

"Labour believes a general election would be the best outcome for the country," he said.

6.10pm: Brexiter MP takes pop at speaker John Bercow

Caroline Johnson, Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham called for fellow Brexiters to back the Prime Minister's deal, and had a dig at Speaker John Bercow for changing the rules of the debate.

"We are 10 players on a pitch playing a team of 11 – the odds are now even further stacked against us, since the referee has demonstrated he is prepared to change the rules," she said.

A red-faced Bercow responded, saying: "I have not changed any rules of the debate, what I have done is I have chaired the debate from start to finish, facilitating every honourable and right honourable member from every conceivable hue of opinion – to have every opportunity to put his or her view. It is a point so blindingly obvious and so transparently fair that all reasonable people would, I think, accept it."

6pm: There is a good deal to be done but 'this is not that deal'

Sir Hugo Swire, Conservative MP for East Devon and a remain voter, said he would oppose the Prime Minister's deal.

"It is with a heavy heart that I shall not be supporting the government this evening," he said.

"There is a good deal which respects all our peoples and all our industry and all our business. There is a deal to be done, but Mr Speaker, this is not that deal."


5.50pm: The only option that can secure a majority is 'common market two' 

Ivan Lewis, independent MP for Bury South said: "This should be historic day for the future of our country and our parliament," but, "instead it is a day of high farce and self-delusion".

Lewis said a second referendum will "further divide our country" and said the only option which can secure a majority in parliament is a common market two agreement. 

This "will require a radically reworked political declaration based on EEA and Efta," or "the house will have to take control and seek a pragmatic compromise", he said.


5.45pm: Prime Minister is "trying to hold the country to ransom"

Marsha de Cordova, Labour MP for Battersea said the Prime Minister Theresa May had returned form Brussels "with nothing".

She said "all that has changed since the Prime Minister pulled the vote is we now have 73 days until the 29th of March," and accused the Prime Minister of trying to "hold the country to ransom".

"This is unnaceptable," she said, describing it as  "attempted blackmail".


5.36pm: Brexit is 'almost like Christmas day'

Nigel Evans Conservative MP for Ribble Valley came out against a second referendum saying: "People did have a final say and it was in 2016".

"The important thing is that we leave on the 29 March," he said.

"It is almost like Christmas day," he said. "If we deny people the opportunity to leave on 29 March they will never forgive us."


5.32pm: 'Business does not want a second referendum'

Andrew Selous, Conservative MP for South West Bedfordshire said: "We must stop an alliance of people who want to stop Brexit, an alliance of people who want an even stronger Brexit actually denying what people voted for," he said.

"We know that business does not want a second referendum," he said. He also said he has spoken to pro-leave trade unionists who said if Brexit was stopped it would unleash a wave of disillusionment with politics across the country.

5.25pm: No deal would be massive blow to the car industry 

Richard Burden, Labour MP for Birmingham, Northfield said in the light of Jaguar Land Rover cutting 4,500 jobs in the UK a no-deal Brexit must be avoided at all costs to safeguard the UK car industry.

There is “great uncertainty for the employees involved”, he said, “I don’t claim job losses are only to do with Brexit,” but “Brexit is part of that picture too”.

"The important thing now is to rule our crashing out of the EU without a deal,” he said.


4.23pm: Bercow's amendments explained

Need a hand understanding what Bercow's Brexit deal amendments – which will be voted on before the deal itself is voted on – actually mean? We certainly did. Fortunately we had City A.M.'s politics correspondent, Owen Bennett, on hand to explain it to us- here's his lowdown:

John Bercow has selected four amendments to Theresa May's Brexit deal, all of which will be voted on ahead of the main business this evening. Jeremy Corbyn's kills the deal stone dead and also rules out 'no deal', meaning Tory Brexiters are not going to support it. Likewise the amendment tabled by the SNP's Ian Blackford, which calls for the extension of Article 50.

The other two amendments have been tabled by Conservative backbenchers. Edward Leigh's says that if by the end of 2021 the backstop is still in the withdrawal agreement, the UK should unilaterally walkaway from the arrangement. This has already been ruled out by Brussels of course.

If this amendment passes, its likely no other vote will take place and May will have to return to Brussels to try to get the EU to agree.

If the Leigh amendment falls, then we move on to the one tabled by John Baron (I hope you're keeping up). This is similar to Leigh's and would see the UK being able to unilaterally withdraw from the backstop. Again, if this passes, May will have to take it back to Brussels. If all four amendments are defeated, then there is the main vote.

Will any of the amendments pass? Former Brexit minister Steve Baker, a big player in the hardline ERG group of MPs, says his allies won't support any of them, and neither will the government, meaning they are all likely to fail.

But there is a Machiavellian route available to 'no deal' Tories here. If you want 'no deal', the last thing you want to do is give control back to parliament, which rejecting May's deal could led to. One school of thought is you send May back to Brussels with a change to the deal which you know the EU is going to reject, therefore running down the clock to 29 March and getting the 'no deal' you prize. That is a gamble of course, as Brussels may bend at the last moment to prevent that outcome.

It's all very House of Cards.

3.39pm: Bill Cash MP says May should 'consider position' after vote

Sir Bill Cash, chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, has called on the Prime Minister to “consider her position and to do so with dignity”.

The prominent Eurosceptic Conservative MP said that after the vote the government should “conclude that enough is enough and that we have reached the journey's end”.

“Now is the time to walk away from the intransigence of the EU and our failed policy of seeking to supplicate their guidelines, their terms and their paymasters.

“We witnessed similar events in May 1940 when the then prime minister actually won the vote on the Norway debate but on reflection concluded that he had to resign because he had lost the confidence of parliament as a whole.

“I believe therefore there are lessons in this for the Prime Minister to consider her position and to do so with dignity and without rancour."

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Nicky Morgan said in her speech to MPs that should would back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, but should the PM lose tonight’s vote she should abandon her plan altogether.

2.52pm: SNP: There is no such thing as a good Brexit

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has blasted MPs' choice between May's deal or no-deal and called for article 50 to be extended.

Blackford, whose amendment to the deal was selected earlier today by Speaker John Bercow, criticised both the government and the Labour party for their approaches to Brexit.

“There is no such thing as a good Brexit,” he said. “It is the responsibility of any government to provide security for its citizens.”

He said the SNP are “particularly alarmed” by the end of freedom of movement. “Why should my grandchildren not have the same rights that my generation had?” he added.

Blackford told the Labour party to “get off the fence” and back a second referendum.

2.06pm: Sadiq Khan: No-deal Brexit would be an economic disaster

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the Prime Minister to take no-deal off the table, saying the economy “simply isn't prepared”. In a letter co-signed by the mayors of Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle, Khan warned “crashing out isn't an option”.

Earlier today automotive trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warned a no-deal scenario could “destroy” the industry, telling MPs the fate of hundreds of thousands of jobs is in their hands.

1.42pm: Sterling slides lower

Sterling has slid to 1.283 against the dollar as parliament continues to debate Brexit ahead of tonight’s vote.

That’s 0.6 per cent down on its $1.291 price at 6am and 0.15 per cent down on its position at 10.30am, according to foreign exchange service

City A.M. has previously reported that trader’s have priced tonight’s likely defeat into sterling’s value but Brexit is the only thing moving the currency at the moment.

If you’re curious about how sterling could react to the outcome of parliament’s vote this evening, check out our forecast here.

1.05pm: Bercow selects four amendments

Speaker John Bercow has selected four amendments to the Prime Minister's Brexit deal to be voted on by MPs tonight.

Bercow chose amendments from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh and Tory MP John Baron.

He did not select Conservative MP Andrew Murrison's amendment, which would have put a time limit on the Irish backstop and offered a lifeline to reduce the scale of the expected government defeat.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox called on MPs to support Theresa May's deal. He warned a no-deal Brexit would create legal uncertainty for thousands of contracts and transactions, adding it would be the "height of irresponsibility" to allow it to happen.

"We are playing with people's lives," he said. "We cannot underestimate the complexity of what we are embarked upon doing."

The amendments mean the vote is likely to take place shortly after 8pm today.

12.15pm: Car makers call on MPs to avoid no-deal

Britain’s car manufacturing industry has warned MPs they hold “the future of the British automotive industry” in their hands ahead of today’s vote.

The influential trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) repeated previous threats that a no-deal scenario could “destroy” the industry, which provides hundreds of thousands of UK jobs.

The SMMT has already thrown its weight behind Theresa May’s deal.

SMMT chairman Mike Hawes urged MPs to “remember they hold the future of the British automotive industry – and the hundreds and thousands of jobs it supports – in their hands.”

He said: “Brexit is already causing us damage – in output, costs and jobs, but this does not compare with the catastrophic consequences of being cut adrift from our biggest trading partner overnight.

“The Just-in-Time nature of automotive means the impact of ‘no deal’ will be felt, not in months or weeks, but hours.

“A managed ‘no deal’ is a fantasy – we would face immediate delivery shortages, disruption, additional costs and uncertainty. Both government and parliament have a responsibility to take ‘no deal’ off the table or risk destroying this vital UK industry.”

10.30am: Michael Gove: Winter is coming

Environment minister hit MPs with a Game of Thrones-style weather warning this morning as he warned that “winter is coming” if they fail to back May’s Brexit deal as predicted.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, he added: “The British people have placed a responsibility on us. Are we going to live up to that responsibility and vote to leave the European Union or are we going to disappoint them and damage our democracy by not voting to leave the EU?”

Gove defended the controversial so-called Irish backstop, which is at the centre of May’s problems as it signs the UK up to a customs union with the EU in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

He argued that the EU would find it “deeply uncomfortable”, and would therefore seek to avoid using it once the two-year transition period is over.

“The European Union said at the very beginning of this process that there would be no cherry-picking, the four freedoms of the single market were indivisible,” he said.

"But we have picked a whole bowl of glistening cherries, we have free access to the European market with no tariffs and no quotas but at the same time we say that European citizens have no freedom of movement.

“We are in a stronger position in the backstop.”

9.00am: Labour MP ditches amendment that could have killed Brexit vote

Labour MP and Brexit select committee chief Hilary Benn today withdrew an amendment that sought to prevent this evening’s Brexit vote from going ahead.

Securing the amendment, Labour feared, would have hidden the true scale of May’s defeat from the public.

Benn’s amendment would also have taken a no-deal Brexit scenario off the table.

“If the Prime Minister loses tonight the Government must reach out across the House to try and find a way forward,” Benn said on Twitter.

“If this doesn’t happen, then Parliament will have to take the lead.”

'History will judge you'

Yesterday May told the House of Commons that history would judge their actions today as she tried to muster support for her Brexit deal, which has been maligned by MPs of all parties.

“When the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House tomorrow and ask: Did we deliver on the country’s vote to leave the European Union? Did we safeguard our economy, our security and our Union? Or did we let the British people down?” she said.