In Brief

MPs back Brexit delay bill by one vote

Yvette Cooper's bill comes as talks continue between May and Corbyn

MPs have voted by a majority of one to force Theresa May to ask for an extension to the Brexit process.

The emergency bill, proposed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, requires the government to bring a legally binding vote to MPs, seeking an extension to Article 50, with the Commons able to determine the length of the extension.

It passed its third reading about half an hour before midnight by just one vote – 313 ayes to 312 noes.

However, the bill will need Lords approval to become law and it is the European Union which decides whether or not to grant an extension.

It comes after the first day of talks between May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to end the Brexit deadlock. Although discussions between the two leaders were described as “constructive”, the Labour leader sounded downcast when he described them as “useful but inconclusive”.

He added: “There hasn't been as much change as I expected but we will have further discussions tomorrow to explore technical issues.”

The Times says both are facing a “furious backlash” from their parties over their meetings. May suffered two resignations over the issue. Chris Heaton-Harris, a Brexit minister, and Nigel Adams, a Welsh Office minister and whip, both quit yesterday.

Adams, a close ally of Boris Johnson, told the PM: “It now seems that you and your cabinet have decided that a deal cooked up with a Marxist who has never once in his political life put British interests first is better than no deal. I profoundly disagree with this approach.” Brexiteers are once again threatening to submit letters of no confidence in May as their party leader.

The Guardian says that “Labour tensions over a second referendum burst into the open” when the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, wrote to colleagues to insist any pact must be put to a public vote. Corbyn later assured an emergency meeting of the shadow cabinet that he was aware of the risk of helping the government. 

During another testing day for May she did receive one small boost when MPs failed in a bid to take control of the Commons timetable for a third round of indicative votes on Brexit alternatives.

After MPs’ votes came to a 310-310 tie, Speaker John Bercow was given the casting vote. In line with parliamentary precedent, he voted with the government and went with the noes. It is the first time since the 1990s that such a scenario played out.

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