FIGHT­ING FOR HER LIFE

May’s deal crushed in big­gest-ever de­feat She faces no-con­fi­dence vote to­day Cab­i­net split over her plan to work with Labour EU dares Bri­tain to can­cel Brexit

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Ja­son Groves Po­lit­i­cal Editor Turn to Page 2

THERESA May was last night bat­tling for her po­lit­i­cal life fol­low­ing a crush­ing de­feat that puts Brexit in doubt. MPs voted by a ma­jor­ity of 230 to re­ject the With­drawal Agree­ment she has struck with the EU. It was the big­gest govern­ment de­feat in Bri­tish his­tory.

The Prime Min­is­ter called on muti­nous Tory MPs to back her in a con­fi­dence vote tonight. An­other de­feat could trig­ger an elec­tion and put Jeremy Cor­byn in Down­ing Street.

Mrs May in­sisted she would talk to se­nior MPs from all par­ties to bring for­ward a re­vised plan by Mon­day. But No 10 in­di­cated she would not open for­mal talks with Mr Cor­byn be­cause of his ‘cyn­i­cal’ ap­proach to Brexit.

Last night’s de­feat eclipses the pre­vi­ous record 166-vote loss in­flicted on Ram­say Mac­Don­ald’s mi­nor­ity Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion in 1924.

More than a third of Con­ser­va­tive MPs – 118 in all – re­belled. How­ever, there was no in­ter­nal push to re­move Mrs May from of­fice, with even Boris

John­son say­ing she should stay. Cab­i­net Re­main­ers will now pres­sure her to drop her op­po­si­tion to a per­ma­nent cus­toms union in or­der to win sup­port from Labour MPs.

Brexit-back­ing min­is­ters in­stead want her to go back to Brus­sels and de­mand the re­moval of the Ir­ish bor­der back­stop.

En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Michael Gove said the Euro­pean Re­search Group of hard­line Brex­i­teers had ef­fec­tively brought for­ward a softer Brexit by vot­ing against the With­drawal Agree­ment.

Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond wel­comed the Prime Min­is­ter’s at­tempt to find a com­pro­mise, say­ing: ‘I strongly back Theresa May as she reaches out across the House to build a po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus to de­liver a ne­go­ti­ated Brexit deal that honours the ref­er­en­dum re­sult while pro­tect­ing jobs, busi­ness and pros­per­ity.’ On a tu­mul­tuous day: Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow in­di­cated he would al­low back­bench MPs to seize con­trol of the Brexit process to pre­vent a no-deal exit;

Mr Ham­mond and Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Greg Clark held an emer­gency con­fer­ence call with busi­ness lead­ers, amid fears that financial mar­kets could take fright at the scale of last night’s de­feat;

Mr Ham­mond was cheered by fel­low min­is­ters ahead of the vote when he told the PM: ‘You must not re­sign’;

Mr Cor­byn said the ‘cat­a­strophic de­feat’ must trig­ger a gen­eral elec­tion;

EU pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk sug­gested that Brexit could now be re­versed;

Hard­line Eu­roscep­tics and the DUP in­di­cated they would back Mrs May in to­day’s con­fi­dence vote de­spite vot­ing against her last night;

Mrs May pre­pared to fly to Brus­sels as

Em­bat­tled: Theresa May in the Com­mons last night con­tem­plates her huge de­feat

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