Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit amendment was comfortably defeated last night but it did have one surprising backer in the shape of the deputy leader of the Lib Dems.
Her apparent defiance of her party’s policy raised eyebrows in Westminster, but a party source confirmed to Yahoo News that it was a “genuine mistake”.
She was the only Lib Dem MP to support the policy.
Labour’s amendment called for a permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU; dynamic alignment on rights and protections; commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes; “unambiguous” agreements on the detail of future security arrangements; and close alignment with the single market.
The Lib Dems tagged their own amendment on to Mr Corbyn’s proposals, calling for an extension of Article 50 to provide time for a referendum.
Mr Corbyn’s proposals were defeated by a margin of 240 votes to 323.
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The Labour leader said he would continue to push for a version of his Brexit plan despite its overwhelming rejection by the Commons.
Mr Corbyn confirmed Labour would now back a referendum if faced with a “damaging Tory Brexit” or a no-deal departure from the European Union.
But he insisted that Labour would also continue to push for “other available options” to prevent either Theresa May’s deal or the UK crashing out without an agreement.
Under pressure from his own MPs, Mr Corbyn confirmed he was not yet ready to fully abandon Labour’s Brexit plan in favour of a second referendum.
He said: “We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no-deal outcome.
“We will also continue to push for the other available options to prevent those outcomes, including a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election.”
Former shadow cabinet minister Caroline Flint warned that a second referendum would be opposed by a number of Labour MPs, as well as members and voters.
Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to bring her Withdrawal Agreement back to the Commons for a “meaningful vote” by March 12, although there have been hints the showdown could be as soon as next week.
If she fails to overturn the 230-vote mauling the Agreement received in January, votes will be held on the following days on blocking a no-deal Brexit on March 29 and extending the two-year Article 50 negotiation process.