MPs voted to block no deal by one vote because a Tory whip forgot to cast her ballot

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Jo Churchill (circled) reacts after her failure to vote in a key no-deal Brexit vote in the Commons (BBC Parliament)

A key vote that paves the way for MPs to block a no-deal Brexit was seemingly lost because a Tory whip forgot to vote.

Just one single vote was enough for the vote on Dominic Grieve’s amendment to pass on Monday night, which MPs are hoping will ultimately stop the next Prime Minister suspending parliament so Britain can exit the EU without a deal.

Jo Churchill, the MP for Bury St Edmunds does not appear on the division lists for the vote - with colleagues saying she had forgotten to vote.

Dominic Grieve said he did not think democracy would survive Parliament being prorogued to allow for a no-deal Brexit (PA)

Ms Churchill had been acting as a proxy for Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and it is presumed that she forgot to cast her own vote alongside.

Pictures from the chamber show Ms Churchill reacting in horror as the result of the vote was announced.

Speaking during the debate, Mr Grieve said he did not think democracy would survive Parliament being prorogued to allow for a no-deal Brexit.

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He added: "Heaven knows, if I've tried to do anything during this Brexit process it's to try to encourage a sound process and to prevent catastrophic cliff edge moments and to enable this House to make reasoned decisions.

"What this House then decides to do is a matter for the House, but the idea the House that we can or should be excluded from the process, as some seem to be willing to threaten, is an enormity.

Boris Johnson has refused to rule out suspending Parliament (PA)

"Our democracy will not survive such an assault and it is incumbent on every single one of us to take action to make sure that doesn't happen.”

Boris Johnson, who is expected to win the Tory leadership contest this month, has so far refused to rule out suspending Parliament to ensure Brexit happens by 31 October.

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