Summary

ITV’s Daniel Hewitt has also issued a prediction for what might happen next.

Unless DUP come on board we’re surely heading for a really long delay to Brexit. MPs will vote down May’s deal, then pick an alternative which she won’t implement, she’ll resign and EU will give us a long extension while Tories elect new leader and possibly a general election 🤷‍♂️

— Daniel Hewitt (@DanielHewittITV) March 27, 2019

I will wrap this up now. Here a short summary of today’s developments:

  • All eight alternative Brexit proposals MPs voted on tonight in indicative votes were rejected by parliament. Sir Oliver Letwin, who is responsible for these indicative votes, said in the Commons immediately after the results were read out that this had been expected, and that the indicative votes were a “two-step process” that would deliver more decisive support for some of the proposals in a second day of voting on Monday, which Speaker John Bercow has allowed.
  • Theresa May told Tory MPs this afternoon that she would resign if her withdrawal agreement gets approved by parliament in a third meaningful vote (MV3). However, before her announcement, Speaker John Bercow reiterated in the Commons that he would not allow another vote on the same deal unless it is substantially amended.
  • The DUP has confirmed that it will not support May’s deal if it comes back for a third vote, and that none of its MPs will abstain, making it highly unlikely that Theresa May’s deal could get enough votes to pass.
  • Boris Johnson has said he will now support May’s deal, which many interpret as a sign that he wants to replace her as PM if she resigns.

That’s all from me, goodnight.

Updated

This is a good summary of today’s events.

Trying a new thing tonight - ICYMI best bits of the day as shown on #bbcnews10 watchable here now ... https://t.co/sBsgGqCTRy

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 27, 2019

Earlier, Sky’s Kate McCann had pondered the possibility of a DUP split over whether to back May’s deal or not.

Tory Brexiteer said earlier if DUP shifted against PM’s deal a chunk of those who changed their minds would switch back (even if they look daft doing it). Rees-Mogg confirms his vote is tied to theirs. ...But what if DUP split?

— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) March 27, 2019

This is her comment on the matter since the votes:

One thing we all know now is anything is possible when it comes to Brexit. And remember, there is pressure on the DUP behind the scenes to end uncertainty around Brexit ...

— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) March 27, 2019

Updated

The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Deacon has summarised Theresa May’s limbo like this:

Theresa May must now simultaneously stay and resign

— Michael Deacon (@MichaelPDeacon) March 27, 2019

The trouble for Theresa May, as of tonight, is this: She has promised Tory Brexiters to resign if her deal gets through parliament, implying the caveat that if it fails, she plans to cling on.

Unfortunately she made a remark in the Commons on March 20, where she said: “As prime minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30.” Many pundits were interpreting that sentence as a hint that she would step down if the failure of her deal would prompt MPs to push for a longer extension beyond June 30 - an option Donald Tusk has not ruled out.

This means that if she were to stand by her word, the PM is definitely resigning, whether her deal goes ahead (her promise today) or not (long extension, most likely).

Perhaps Speaker John Bercow, who has restated tonight that he won’t allow a third meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement unless its modified, will deliver a solution to the PM’s dilemma.

Updated

James Forsyth, the Spectator’s political editor, has just made a prediction on what might happen next:

Here’s an unlikely but not impossible Brexit scenario: May brings back just the WA. Promises Labour an election-where they can argue about future partnership-if they vote it through. At same time, May tells Tories they can use until May 22 to elect a new leader for that campaign

— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) March 27, 2019

Compared to the Tory whip however, the Labour whip looks almost muscly.

This from Sky’s Faisal Islam:

Blimey less than HALF Conservative MPs voted for a Three Line Whip on extending A50 UK law legal date SI - something they were told would cause deep legal problems. Just 150 voted for, 93 against, rest abstained. Passed on Labour votes....

This cant lasthttps://t.co/F4cT7FihbY

— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) March 27, 2019

Labour’s Barry Gardiner, who told BBC Radio 4 this morning that Labour was “not a Remain party”, is apparently not the only person who needs to get to know his party better, if one is to believe Owen Smith MP.

Labour is an internationalist, pro-European, ‘Remain’ Party. Or it is nothing. If every Labour MP had been true to our roots, a People’s Vote could have passed tonight. We will not be forgiven if we fail our country and allow Brexit to break the UK.

— Owen Smith (@OwenSmith_MP) March 27, 2019

But it is not only the Tory party that is battling an internal crisis: 27 Labour MPs defied the three-line whip tonight and voted against the second referendum proposal tabled by Margaret Beckett.

Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow housing minister, Melanie Onn, has resigned.

Read the full story written by my colleagues Heather Stewart and Jessica Elgot.

Updated

Jacob-Rees Mogg meanwhile seems to have done a U-Turn re May’s deal, for which he only expressed support in today’s Daily Mail.

This from Paul Brand, ITV News’ political correspondent:

BREAKING: @Jacob_Rees_Mogg tells #peston that if DUP can't be brought round, then "I will support the DUP, if they are still opposing it". In other words, he's off-side again.

— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) March 27, 2019

Updated

Criticising the sudden support of hardline Brexiters like Boris Johnson for Theresa May’s deal, now that she has offered to quit when it passes, is another popular activity tonight.

Here the SMP’s Jamie Hepburn: “The future of Theresa May should not be what we are focussing on tonight, the future of our country is what we should be focussing on.”

The @SNP’s, @JamieHepburn is shocked how focussed we are on Theresa May at this point in the Brexit process #bbcdn pic.twitter.com/hj56kfmaYk

— BBC Debate Night (@bbcdebatenight) March 27, 2019

This is Gary Lineker’s message to Boris Johnson:

Completely shameless. Doesn’t give a toss for the country. He’ll do, say, support anything that he thinks gives him a smidgen of a chance of being PM. https://t.co/jauGSyFQlM

— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 27, 2019

If you enjoy mingling with many immensely frustrated people, I suggest you go on Twitter now.

Earlier in the Commons much jeering, such as “ridiculous waste of time, crazy, crazy”, was heard when Sir Oliver Letwin tried to defend the indicative votes and bringing the rejected proposals back again for more votes on Monday.

Many similar sentiments are aired elsewhere tonight.

Brilliant to hear a whole range of new Brexit options that MPs don’t want. Truly illuminating.

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) March 27, 2019

So Parliament takes control and then proves it can't decide. Great. What a waste of time

Remember Friday is the deadline

Can we just decide if we want to leave with this deal or not leave?

Any MP who refuses to address that basic choice should be treated to @maitlis sideeye 🙄

— Henry Newman (@HenryNewman) March 27, 2019

In a spectacular display of indecision, the House of Commons has voted against remaining in the EU and every version of leaving the EU.

— James Cleverly MP (@JamesCleverly) March 27, 2019

This from Stephen Bush, political editor at the New Statesman:

As we expected, nothing got a majority and the thing which got closest was a softer Brexit than May's (the customs union). But what we didn't expect is that the next most popular option is a second ref: https://t.co/DIt0ixAUKE

— Stephen Bush (@stephenkb) March 27, 2019

Labour MP Jess Phillips reacts to Theresa May’s attempt to get Tory Brexiters to back her deal by promising to resign.

“Since about November last year, she felt like she was captive to hardline Tory Brexiteers who never had her best interests at heart… only ever their own.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips on how Brexiteers steered Theresa May's decision-making. #newsnight | @jessphillips pic.twitter.com/XqkndEoOyX

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) March 27, 2019

This from Conservative peer Andrew Lansley:

Important to note that the lowest anti vote was in relation to the Customs Union and the Cabinet did not vote. I interpret this as the option most likely to reach a majority if all MPs are voting.

— Andrew Lansley CBE (@AndrewDLansley) March 27, 2019

Various MPs and pundits have rushed to point out that two of the eight proposals that failed in the Commons tonight, Ken Clarke’s Customs Union and Dame Margaret Beckett’s Confirmatory Public Vote, got in fact more “ayes” than the PM’s deal.

This from Labour and Cooperative MP Anneliese Dodds:

Two options from ‘indicative ballot’ today have received more votes than May’s deal had: permanent customs union, and a confirmatory public vote.
Instead of govt listening, they responded by saying they’ll just plough on with original deal. Terrible.

— Anneliese Dodds (@AnnelieseDodds) March 27, 2019

This from the People’s Vote campaign:

Theresa May's Brexit deal got 242 votes in Parliament.#PeoplesVote got 268 votes tonight.

It's time to put this to the people in a #PeoplesVote.

— People's Vote UK (@peoplesvote_uk) March 27, 2019

This from Labour peer Andrew Adonis:

Second referendum got more support tonight than any other option and 26 more votes than Mrs May’s deal. We are on our way pic.twitter.com/PO4fulgDED

— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) March 27, 2019

Evening everyone.

Another frankly astonishing day in the Commons is now coming to an end. I’ll be gathering some reactions to today’s indicative votes - which thus far have resulted in not much more than a line from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (see all those “noes” on the Guardian splash) - and to May’s promise to step down if her withdrawal agreement passes parliament.

Whatever you’re drinking tonight, I won’t judge you.

Here is the Guardian splash.

Tomorrow’s Guardian
-The mess that is Brexit pic.twitter.com/oXm5iEph60

— Paul Johnson (@paul__johnson) March 27, 2019

And that’s all from me for tonight.

My colleague Jedidaja Otte is taking over now.

These are from the Mirror’s Pippa Crerar.

💥 We can expect an almighty row within Labour over second referendum.
27 Labour MPs voted against the option.
How much was it defeated by?
Erm.... 27.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

More:

Labour policy is to deliver Brexit. Yet 111 Labour MPs voted to scrap Brexit

8 Tories backed a 2nd ref & 10 backed revoking Brexit (incl ministers Mark Field & Alan Duncan)

160 MPs voted in favour of No Deal - incl Labour's Dennis Skinner, Kate Hoey & Ronnie Campbell

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

💥I'm frankly ASTONISHED to see that Labour party chair @IanLaveryMP voted FOR a managed No Deal Brexit.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

Speaker John Bercow reads out the results of the eight indicative votes – all of which were defeated.

Here is our main story on the results of the indicative votes ballot.

Here is the full text of what Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, said in his point of order after the results were announced.

The house has today considered a wide variety of options as a way forward.

And it demonstrates that there are no easy options here. There is no simple way forward.

The deal the government has negotiated is a compromise, both with the EU and with members across this house.

That is the nature of complex negotiations.

The results of the process this house has gone through today strengthens our view that the deal the government has negotiated is the best option.

Furthermore, Mr Speaker, although this was not a significant feature of today’s debate, any deal must include a withdrawal agreement.

It is the government’s firm wish to get the withdrawal agreement approved by this house, and I urge all members, no matter the view on what the future relationship should be, if you believe in delivering on the referendum result by leaving the EU with a deal, then it’s necessary to back the withdrawal agreement.

If we do not do that, then there are no guarantees about where this process will end.

It is for that reason that I call on all members from across this House, in the national interest, to back the prime minister’s deal.

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former communications chief and a People’s Vote campaigner, has tweeted out a list of Labour MPs who did not back the Beckett amendment for a confirmatory referendum.

Labour MPs who abstained or voted against ⁦@peoplesvote_ukpic.twitter.com/TsoORlSVZu

— Alastair PEOPLE’S VOTE Campbell (@campbellclaret) March 27, 2019

The Times’ Sam Coates has tweeted more of the results.

Results - No deal

Supported by 3 Labour MPs pic.twitter.com/03bxl7drCk

— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) March 27, 2019

Results - Common Market 2.0

Note DUP *abstained* pic.twitter.com/eVBqpY3KmI

— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) March 27, 2019

Results - EEA but no customs union

Labour oppose because it means endorsing May’s deal pic.twitter.com/IwRnHBIk8j

— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) March 27, 2019

Results - Customs Union

The closest of all the votes - DUP also abstained pic.twitter.com/dGnd2f8R1V

— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) March 27, 2019

Results - Labour plan

Ken Clarke voted for Labour plan! pic.twitter.com/G0DazZKBSK

— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) March 27, 2019

Those #indicativevotes in full. pic.twitter.com/Khc8fZ6gmt

— Ian Jones (@ian_a_jones) March 27, 2019

You can read all the division lists for the eight votes here.

Patrick McLoughlin tries again with his point of order about why John Bercow is allowing repeat votes on the indicative vote Brexit alternatives.

Bercow says this was meant to be a process. The Commons decided earlier that this should take place over two days, he says.

Results of indicative votes ballot, in order

And here are the results, ranked in order, with the least unpopular at the top.

J - Ken Clarke’s - Customs union [see note]

For: 264

Against: 272

Majority against: 8

M - Dame Margaret Beckett’s - Confirmatory public vote

For: 268

Against: 295

Majority against: 27

K - Labour’s - Customs union and alignment with single market

For: 237

Against: 307

Majority against: 70

D - Nick Boles’s - common market 2.0

For: 188

Against: 283

Majority against: 95

L - Joanna Cherry’s - Revocation to avoid no deal

For: 184

Against: 293

Majority against: 109

B - John Baron’s - No deal

For: 160

Against: 400

Majority against: 240

O - Marcus Fysh’s - Contingent preferential arrangements

For: 139

Against: 422

Majority against: 283

H - George Eustice’s - Efta and EEA [see note]

For: 65

Against: 377

Majority against: 312

Note: This note was added on 29 March 2019. After publication, the Speaker of the House corrected the counts that had been initially declared for two votes: H, EEA/Efta without customs union, was defeated 64 to 377, not 65 to 377 as originally declared; and J, Customs union, was defeated 265 to 271, not 264 to 272 as originally declared.

Updated

Patrick McLoughlin, the former Tory chief whip, asks John Bercow if his “no repeat votes” ruling means these matters cannot be put to a vote again.

Bercow says that is not the case. He says this is a different process. The business motion made it clear it would be a two-step process.

McLoughlin tries to intervene again, but Bercow won’t let him. MPs jeer very loudly. It feels as if Bercow is losing control of the house, but eventually he restores control, and says he won’t be intimidated by McLoughlin.

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, says the House of Commons cannot find a way forward. The issue must be put back to the people in a general election, he says.

Updated

Barclay says indicative votes results show why PM’s deal is best way forward

Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, says tonight’s results show there is no easy way forward. They strengthen the government’s view that the PM’s deal is the best option.

He says any deal must include a withdrawal agreement.

If MPs want to leave the EU with a deal, they must back the withdrawal agreement, he says.

He says otherwise he cannot say where this process will end.

  • Barclay, the Brexit secretary, says the indicative votes results show why the PM’s deal is the best way forward.

Oliver Letwin makes a point of order. He says he thought all ideas put to a vote tonight would fail to get a majority. But he says he wants to go ahead with a further debate and votes on Monday.

Some MPs are jeering at him, implying such a debate would be pointless.

Letwin goes on. He says he hopes that MPs will back May’s deal in a vote on Friday, which would obviate the need for further indicative votes.

Results of indicative votes on Brexit alternatives

Here are the results of the indicative votes on the Brexit alternatives.

I have taken the summary of what each amendment does from the Press Association summary featured earlier.

  • MPs vote against all eight options considered under the indicative votes process. This is what Oliver Letwin, the MP who championed this process, said he expected to happen in his Today interview this morning.

B - John Baron’s - No deal

Backed by Conservative MPs John Baron, David Amess, Martin Vickers and Stephen Metcalfe, the motion proposes leaving the European Union without a deal on April 12.

For: 160

Against: 400

D - Nick Boles’s - common market 2.0

Tabled by Conservatives Nick Boles, Robert Halfon and Andrew Percy and Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, Lucy Powell and Diana Johnson. The motion proposes UK membership of the European free trade association and European Economic Area. It allows continued participation in the single market and a “comprehensive customs arrangement” with the EU after Brexit, which would remain in place until the agreement of a wider trade deal which guarantees frictionless movement of goods and an open border in Ireland.

For: 188

Against: 283

H - George Eustice’s - Efta and EEA

A motion tabled by Conservative MP George Eustice – who quit as agriculture minister this month to fight for Brexit – proposes remaining within the EEA and rejoining Efta, but remaining outside a customs union with the EU. The motion was also signed by Conservative MPs including former minister Nicky Morgan and head of the Brexit Delivery Group Simon Hart.

For: 65

Against: 377

J - Ken Clarke’s - Customs union

Requires a commitment to negotiate a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU” in any Brexit deal. Tabled by veteran Conservative Europhile Ken Clarke, backed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, Helen Goodman and chair of the Commons Brexit committee Hilary Benn and Tory former ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Sarah Newton.

For: 264

Against: 272

K - Labour’s - Customs union and alignment with single market

Labour has tabled a motion proposing its plan for a close economic relationship with the EU. The plan includes a comprehensive customs union with a UK say on future trade deals; close alignment with the single market; matching new EU rights and protections; participation in EU agencies and funding programmes; and agreement on future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant

For: 237

Against: 307

L - Joanna Cherry’s - Revocation to avoid no deal

Under this plan, if the government has not passed its withdrawal agreement, it would have to stage a vote on a no-deal Brexit two sitting days before the scheduled date of departure. If MPs refuse to authorise no-deal, the prime minister would be required to halt Brexit by revoking article 50. The motion, tabled by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry, has been signed by 33 MPs including the Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve, the Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Vince Cable, Labour’s Ben Bradshaw and all 11 members of the Independent Group.

For: 184

Against: 293

M - Dame Margaret Beckett’s - Confirmatory public vote

Drawn up by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson and tabled by former foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett with the backing of scores of MPs across the House, this motion would require a public vote to confirm any Brexit deal passed by parliament before its ratification.

For: 268

Against: 295

O - Marcus Fysh’s - Contingent preferential arrangements

A group of Conservative MPs, including Marcus Fysh, Steve Baker and Priti Patel, have signed a motion that calls for the government to seek to agree preferential trade arrangements with the EU, in case the UK is unable to implement a withdrawal agreement with the bloc.

For: 139

Against: 422

Updated

The division bell is going. That means John Bercow, the Speaker, will announce the results of the indicative votes in about two minutes.

Updated

Stopping Brexit 'is possible now', says Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, says stopping Brexit “is possible now”.

The first preference of @theSNP has always been to stop Brexit. If that’s not possible - and until relatively recently it seemed it wasn’t - we’d opt for soft Brexit over hard. But stopping Brexit is possible now and we voted tonight to give that the best chance. https://t.co/UR9ceVmrMJ

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 27, 2019

The Conservative MP Huw Merriman says he backed the Becket amendment for a confirmatory referendum on the Brexit agreement.

Voted for the #WithdrawalAgreement twice but I’ve lost faith in Parliament to deliver so voted for #KyleWilson tonight to persuade the public to deliver it. No Deal my fallback so kept it on table. All other options undeliverable/unpalatable. Confusing times! pic.twitter.com/4gcgGJHs18

— Huw Merriman (@HuwMerriman) March 27, 2019

Here is Philip Hammond, the chancellor, on Theresa May’s resignation.

@theresa_may has demonstrated once again that she puts getting an orderly Brexit done ahead of everything else.

— Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) March 27, 2019

The Commons sitting has been suspended but, as my colleague Dan Sabbagh and others report, there is a bit of a row going on about the fact that the mace is still there.

Speaker has walked out suspending proceedings until the indicative votes are counted. But Tories are furiously pointing to the mace, still in its place, and trying to encourage deputy speaker Eleanor Laing to take the chair. Which would be a parliamentary take over...

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) March 27, 2019

From Labour’s Kerry McCarthy

The mace is still in place which I think is the cause of the uproar. It’s not meant to be there if we’re not sitting, but I don’t know if a brief suspension counts. It’s not normal for the Chamber to be occupied without anyone in the chair.

— Kerry McCarthy (@KerryMP) March 27, 2019

From the SNP’s Peter Grant

Speaker suspends sitting & vacates chair while we wait for results of this evening’s votes - as he had said he would do.
Tory MPs object that the mace is still there.
They object by trying to raise points of order to an empty chair.
What a total shambles of a parliament.

— Peter Grant MP (@PeterGrantMP) March 27, 2019

John Bercow, the Speaker, says he is not able to announce the results of the indicative votes ballot yet because they have not all been counted. But he says he hopes to be able to announce them soon.

So he suspends the house.

May wins vote on order delaying Brexit by majority of 336

MPs have backed the statutory instrument changing Brexit date in the EU Withdrawal Act by 441 votes to 105 - a majority of 336.

Alastair Campbell, the former communications chief for Tony Blair and a People’s Vote campaigner, is wondering if Jacob Rees-Mogg will perform a fresh U-turn and revert to opposing the deal.

The @duponline do like to take things to the wire but they are looking pretty MIND MADE UP to me. Assume @Jacob_Rees_Mogg and @BorisJohnson will now have to rediscover the principles they had when they said they would only switch behind May if the DUP moved

— Alastair PEOPLE’S VOTE Campbell (@campbellclaret) March 27, 2019

This is what Rees-Mogg told LBC recently.

So if the DUP felt the United Kingdom were being divided up in the deal, then that would mean it were impossible to vote for the deal under any circumstances.

MPs are now voting on the statutory instrument changing the date of Brexit in the EU Withdrawal Act.

Turning back to Labour for a moment, these are from my colleague Heather Stewart.

Hearing at least two shadow cabinet rebels on tonight's indicative votes - and some junior frontbench resignations, including Grimsby MP Melanie Onn.

— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) March 27, 2019

Hearing three shadow ministers - @IanLaveryMP, @GwynneMP and @jon_trickett - rebelled against the Labour whip and abstained on Margaret Beckett's referendum motion tonight.

— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) March 27, 2019

Sky’s Beth Rigby had the some thought as I did when she read the DUP statement.

It’s still a No from the DUP but could they abstain? pic.twitter.com/bBlStC7Is5

— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) March 27, 2019

It provoked this response from the DUP’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds.

The DUP do not abstain on the Union. https://t.co/l4oSPj75V2

— Nigel Dodds (@NigelDoddsDUP) March 27, 2019

The DUP will definitely be voting against May’s deal, not abstaining, a source confirms.

DUP says it still won't back May's deal because it poses 'unacceptable threat' to union

And here is the full version of the DUP statement.

The DUP and the government have had good discussions in recent days and some progress on domestic legislation has been made. All concerned recognise the need to ensure that as we leave the European Union the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom is maintained.

However, given the fact that the necessary changes we seek to the backstop have not been secured between the government and the European Union, and the remaining and ongoing strategic risk that Northern Ireland would be trapped in backstop arrangements at the end of the implementation period, we will not be supporting the government if they table a fresh meaningful vote.

The backstop, if operational, has the potential to create an internal trade border within the United Kingdom and would cut us off from our main internal market, being Great Britain.

We want to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from, and our future relationship with, the European Union on terms that accord with our key objectives to ensure the integrity of the United Kingdom.

In our view the current withdrawal agreement does not do so and the backstop, which we warned this government against from its first inception, poses an unacceptable threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom and will inevitably limit the United Kingdom’s ability to negotiate on the type of future relationship with the EU.

The DUP statement does not say whether the party will abstain, or vote against the deal, but the reference to the backstop being “an unacceptable threat” to the union implies the latter.

Arlene Foster
Arlene Foster Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Updated

Here is the DUP statement.

LATEST⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Y91C4aA09Q

— DUP (@duponline) March 27, 2019

DUP says it still cannot back May's Brexit deal

Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, has said her party cannot support Theresa May’s deal.

BREAK: DUP leader Arlene Foster tells @SkyNews her party “regrets” that it is unable to support the Withdrawal Agreement while it “poses a threat to the integrity of the UK.” #Brexit pic.twitter.com/Cb2zMP2iQ7

— David Blevins (@skydavidblevins) March 27, 2019

Our coverage of the indicative votes debate was not as thorough as it would have been had it not been overshadowed by Theresa May’s announcement about resigning before the next phase of the Brexit talks get underway.

But if you’re interested, the full transcript is now on the Hansard website.

In the Commons the debate on the EU Withdrawal Act statutory instrument is still going on. The Brexiter Sir Bernard Jenkin says tonight will be remembered as the moment when the House of Commons turned against Brexit, and began to ignore the mandate given to MPs to implement the referendum result.

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg has more on Tory Brexiters who are switching towards backing the PM’s deal.

Whittingdale now on board for the deal as well -but Number 10 has a long way to go to be sure they'll get enough switchers to be able to be sure of getting deal over the line

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 27, 2019

25 Tory resisters have now definitely changed their minds and will back the deal

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 27, 2019

In the Commons MPs are now debating the statutory instrument changing the date of Brexit as set out in the EU Withdrawal Act. Opening the debate, Robin Walker, a Brexit minister, said the agreement with the EU at the summit last week meant the date of Brexit in international law had already been moved – to 22 May if the withdrawal agreement passes this week, or to 12 April otherwise. But the date also needs to be changed in the EU Withdrawal Act, which repeals the European Communities Act 1972. Walker said if the EU Withdrawal Act were not amended, there would be legal confusion.

The statutory instrument needs to be passed by both the Commons and the Lords. In the Lords peers passed it earlier today, without a division, but some Brexiter peers did complain about the need for a delay.

The former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Forsyth said:

This is not a very pleasant place we find ourselves in and it has come about because there has been a conspiracy by remainers. There has been a conspiracy by members of both houses who have sought from the beginning to frustrate what 17.4 million people voted for.

Updated

The Conservative MP Tom Pursglove is another Brexiter who has been persuaded to back Theresa May’s deal after previously voting against it, the Sun’s Matt Dathan reports.

Tory MP Tom Pursglove is another switcher tonight. He told the ERG tonight he's now backing the deal

— Matt Dathan (@matt_dathan) March 27, 2019

'No way' enough ERG Tories will switch for May's deal to pass, says ERG source

An ERG source has sent out some lines from the speech that Steve Baker, the ERG deputy chairman, gave at the ERG meeting this evening. It turns out he really did talk about bulldozing parliament. (See 7.43pm.) Baker said:

I’m consumed with a ferocious rage after that pantomime [May in the ‘22] ...

What is our liberty for if not to govern ourselves?

Like all of you I have wrestled with my conscience about what to do.

I could tear this place down and bulldoze it into the river.

These fools and knaves and cowards are voting on things they don’t even understand.

We’ve been put in this place by people whose addiction to power without responsibility has led them to put the choice of no Brexit or this deal.

I may yet resign the whip rather than be part of this.

The source said that Baker received an enormous standing ovation at the end of the speech and that he was hugged by Jacob Rees-Mogg and others afterwards. “We are not a hugging group,” the source said.

He also said he thought there was “no way” that enough ERG members were going to switch for Theresa May’s deal to pass.

Steve Baker
Steve Baker Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Updated

There was a time when the Brexiters wanted to restore the constitutional supremacy of parliament. Now, according to Bloomberg’s Robert Hutton, some of them have other plans for the place.

Steve Baker is NOT, repeat NOT, voting for May's deal. But he DOES want to bulldoze Parliament into the Thames. https://t.co/B2i2hS65Xb via @business

— Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton) March 27, 2019

The Tory Brexiter Sheryll Murray voted against Theresa May’s deal earlier this month. According to the BBC’s Martyn Oates, she has now been persuaded to back it.

BREAKING: ERG rebel @sheryllmurray says @theresa_may has now "done enough" to win her support if the PM's Brexit deal is brought back to the Commons for Meaningful Vote 3 on Friday.

— Martyn Oates (@bbcmartynoates) March 27, 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chair of the European Research Group, has just told Sky News that he thinks the chances of Theresa May’s deal being passed are now “much higher than they were”.

Here is a column from my colleague Polly Toynbee on Theresa May’s decision to announce that she will resign before the next phase of the Brexit talks.

And this is how it starts.

Theresa May will leave office in an “orderly handover” whenever an EU withdrawal deal is done. No one is weeping. The oddity is: we may yet come to miss her, though she has been the worst prime minister of our political lifetimes – bar none. Yet there was one great good purpose in her premiership: by occupying the space, however vacuously, she kept out the barbarian hordes of Brexiteers barging one another out of the way to seize her throne.

Now she has surrendered that one useful role, leaving the country to the untender mercies of those competing in Europhobia for the votes of some 120,000 dwindling Tory party members. To use her deathless phrase, nothing will be changed by her departure. Parliament will be as gridlocked as ever, the combat deadlier with an avowed Brextremist at the helm.

According to my colleague Dan Sabbagh, talks of Steve Baker being open to backing Theresa May’s deal (see 7.10pm) sound premature.

Boris switched to back the deal at ERG but a source adds "No way that deal is getting out the room". Baker spoke against the deal, received a standing ovation, and was hugged by colleagues. Early estimates 30 still against the deal

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) March 27, 2019

More from the European Research Group, the Tory MPs pushing for a harder Brexit who have been meeting following the PM’s statement.

From the FT’s Laura Hughes

NEW: Tory MP says IDS just told ERG he is backing the deal.

— Laura Hughes (@Laura_K_Hughes) March 27, 2019

From the Mail on Sunday’s Harry Cole

Rumour from ERGer: “Baker is in play”

— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) March 27, 2019

Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the ERG, has been one of its fiercest critics of May’s deal. This is what he said in a Telegraph article (paywall) last week.

I understand my Conservative colleagues want to say they have delivered Brexit for fear of voter backlash and I understand the nation is crying out for progress, but this deal would backfire terribly by the next election.

Voting for this deal is not pragmatism. It is the reverse. It would be an understandable but counterproductive surrender for immediate respite ...

If we vote for this deal, we will have locked ourselves in a prison with no voice and no exit. We will escape only with the permission of those whose authority we rejected. The PM won’t resign if the agreement goes through. She will stay and drag us miserably into deeper political disaster.

In the Commons the Brexit indicative votes debate is over. MPs are now voting.

Unusually, they are voting on paper. They have got half an hour to fill in a ballot paper looking like this.

Breaking: first images of tonight's #indicativevotes papers ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/XVTB0jJQKm

— Commons Press Office (@HoCPress) March 27, 2019

But MPs are still using the division lobbies. They are expected to go there to hand over their ballot papers. To even things out, John Bercow, the Speaker, said MPs with surnames beginning with the letters A to K should use the aye lobby, and everyone else the no lobby.

Boris Johnson tells ERG he will now back May's deal

Boris Johnson, the Brexiter former foreign secretary, has told the Tory European Research Group, that he will now vote for Theresa May’s deal, HuffPost’s Arj Singh reports.

Boris Johnson backs May's Brexit deal despite once calling it a suicide vest https://t.co/3mMixfUgET

— Arj Singh (@singharj) March 27, 2019

Johnson has been signalling that he is ready to drop his opposition to the deal for some days now, but only last night he said in a speech: “If we vote for the PM’s lamentable withdrawal agreement we are skewered.” (See 9.33am.)

Updated

And here is Nicola Sturgeon, the Scotland first minister, on Theresa May’s announcement.

If Brexit ends up being forced through on the basis of a deal no one supports - indeed a deal so bad that the PM has to promise to resign to get it through - it will make an already bad project even worse.

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 27, 2019

Updated

And this is from my colleague Dan Sabbagh.

Shailesh Vara emerges from ERG meeting to say that most people present, including him, were coming round to supporting May's "bad deal" as the alternatives were worse. Meeting still going on.

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) March 27, 2019

This is from my colleague Patrick Wintour.

As usual, he is right ...

A consequence of May's likely resignation is that the unresolved question of Britain's future relations with Europe, to be negotiated in phase 2 of talks, will largely be decided on hustings in a Tory Party leadership contest. Fewer than 120,000 deciding on behalf of 46m.

— Patrick Wintour (@patrickwintour) March 27, 2019

The Tory MP Charlie Elphicke voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the second meaningful vote but says he will now back it.

This evening I listened carefully to what the PM said to the 1922 Committee. I am now gravely concerned that we are now at risk losing Brexit. In the light of today’s events I will be voting to support the deal so we leave the EU & make the most of the opportunities of Brexit.

— Charlie Elphicke (@CharlieElphicke) March 27, 2019

Updated

Corbyn says May's resignation announcement shows party management her priority

Here is Jeremy Corbyn responding to Theresa May’s announcement.

Theresa May’s pledge to Tory MPs to stand down if they vote for her deal shows once and for all that her chaotic Brexit negotiations have been about party management, not principles or the public interest.

A change of government can't be a Tory stitch-up, the people must decide.

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) March 27, 2019

And these are from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.

What happens if deal doesn’t got thro? Not clear - ‘whole different ball game’ days Number 10 source - but her promise to quit will move a few votes - not clear if enough

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 27, 2019

Hearing plan is for May to have big last trip to G20 summit at end of June in Japan, then new PM in place mid July

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 27, 2019

Maybe decision tonight was inevitable - but PM’s senior colleagues didn’t know what she was going to do, even late this afternoon

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 27, 2019

From the Spectator’s James Forsyth

Number 10 source tells me that if deal passes, leadership election would begin shortly after May 22nd. But precise timetable is for the party to determine

— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) March 27, 2019

The Tory Brexiter Anne Marie Morris told Radio 4’s PM programme that she did not think DUP MPs were changing their mind about Theresa May’s deal, my colleague Lisa O’Carroll reports.

DUP statement expected at 6pm but Brexiter MP Ann Marie Morris just told BBC PM that she spoke to Nigel Dodds “half an hour ago and he hasn’t changed his mind” . So don’t expect it to say they are backing May

— lisa o'carroll (@lisaocarroll) March 27, 2019

Updated

After the meerting Jacob-Rees Mogg, the ERG chair, said he would back May’s plan even if the DUP only abstained. He said:

If the DUP is abstaining, that would be enough for me, yes. I would feel entitled to back it. If the DUP was still against it I would not feel able to back it.

Rees-Mogg said he did not get the impression May’s announcement made any fellow Brexiters immediately change their mind on the deal.

I don’t think anybody who indicated support for the deal wasn’t people you are previously aware of as having moved to support the deal.

He said it seemed clear that if the deal was passed, the process of replacing May would happen quickly:

I think it was very clear. She basically said that when the withdrawal agreement was approved – and I assume that was by the 22 May deadline.

But if the deal did not pass, he said, “she would have every right to carry on”.

Rees-Mogg declined to say who he would back in the leadership contest:

The great joy of the Tory party is that it has so many talented people in it. It’s like finding a fast bowler in Yorkshire.

Updated

This is from the Telegraph’s Steven Swinford.

Theresa May's exit timetable looks something like this*:

27th May: Leadership contest begins in earnest

28th June: PM goes to G20 in Osaka, Japan, for her final international summit

10th July: New Conservative leader is in place

* All hinges on her deal going through...

— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) March 27, 2019

Corbyn says Labour backing confirmatory referendum amendment even though it does not agree with it in full

As my colleague Heather Stewart reports, Jeremy Corbyn has written to Labour MPs qualifying the party’s support for the confirmatory referendum amendment.

Here is the key quote:

Our conference agreed that if we cannot get a general election we would support all options remaining on the table, including a public vote. Labour is supporting the Beckett-Kyle-Wilson amendment (even where it can be read as going beyond our policy) to keep the option of a public vote on the table in order to stop a disastrous no deal or May’s unacceptable deal.

Labour’s priority is to deliver our credible Brexit plan which respects our commitment to accept the result of the referendum. Today we are are supporting all options that enable us to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or no-deal being forced on the country.

The reason why the Corbyn letter says the Beckett amendment could be read as going beyond Labour party policy is because it does go beyond Labour party policy. It says any withdrawal agreement passed during this parliament should be subject to a confirmatory referendum. Here is the full text:

That this house will not allow in this parliament the implementation and ratification of any withdrawal agreement and any framework for the future relationship unless and until they have been approved by the people of the United Kingdom in a confirmatory public vote.

So Corbyn is saying Labour is backing the Beckett amendment even though it does not agree with it in full. He sent the letter after some members of the shadow cabinet told him they had strong doubts about backing a second referendum.

Here's JC's letter to Labour MPs: stresses that "Labour's priority is to deliver our credible Brexit plan" pic.twitter.com/rNCdWvd26G

— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) March 27, 2019

Updated

More from what happened when Theresa May addressed the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee.

From ITV’s Carl Dinnen

“It was the best speech she’s ever given” says @GeorgeFreemanMP “Showed incredible dignity”

— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) March 27, 2019

“She has shown once again that she puts the national interest first, before personal gain.” Says @DavidMundellDCT

— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) March 27, 2019

The Chancellor leaves the 1922 saying the Prime Minister’s offer is “sad, but I hope it’s going to work”

— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) March 27, 2019

Boris Johnson leaves the ‘22 saying nothing at all. But he looked happy to me.

— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) March 27, 2019

Jacob Rees Mogg “There is never any joy in someone’s political career coming to an end. There is a poignancy about that.”

Says a DUP abstention would be enough for him to back the deal.

— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) March 27, 2019

From the BBC’s Ross Hawkins

🚨 Some in erg unconvinced by pm pledge. It was vague one tells me and some colleagues won’t be convinced

— Ross Hawkins (@rosschawkins) March 27, 2019

From the BBC’s Iain Watson

Very senior Conservative 'she was as clear as she has ever been ' she will not be around for the next stagr But if deal doesnt pass 'thats a different matter'

— iain watson (@iainjwatson) March 27, 2019

From Sky’s Aubrey Allegretti

Tory Brexiteer on news Theresa May will quit once Brexit delivered.

"It sounds all great in here and the usuals are clapping. But there’s nothing substantive in it. No date. No timeline. No strategy. No clarity. This will look worse in the morning than it does right now."

— Aubrey Allegretti (@breeallegretti) March 27, 2019

From the Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn

May told the 1922: “I’ve made mistakes. But if you don’t try to do anything, you won’t make any mistakes”

— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) March 27, 2019

Updated

From my colleague Graeme Wearden

Pound shrugs at Theresa May's pledge to step down before second phase of Brexit https://t.co/SkvFUEDZ7l pic.twitter.com/IBlwTLlUSl

— Graeme Wearden (@graemewearden) March 27, 2019

What May said to Tory MPs about resigning before next phase of Brexit talks

Downing Street has sent out extracts from what Theresa May said to Tory MPs at the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee.

This has been a testing time for our country and our party. We’re nearly there. We’re almost ready to start a new chapter and build that brighter future.

But before we can do that, we have to finish the job in hand. As I say, I don’t tour the bars and engage in the gossip – but I do make time to speak to colleagues, and I have a great team in the whips’ office. I also have two excellent PPSs.

And I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.

I know some people are worried that if you vote for the withdrawal agreement, I will take that as a mandate to rush on into phase two without the debate we need to have. I won’t – I hear what you are saying.

But we need to get the deal through and deliver Brexit ...

I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.

I ask everyone in this room to back the deal so we can complete our historic duty – to deliver on the decision of the British people and leave the European Union with a smooth and orderly exit.

Theresa May leaving Number 10 earlier
Theresa May leaving Number 10 earlier. Photograph: James Veysey/Rex/Shutterstock

Updated

More on Theresa May at the 1922 Committee.

From the Telegraph’s Christopher Hope

The PM's speech was passionate. "Neither the PM nor the chief whip were crying," said Simon Hart MP. #1922

— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) March 27, 2019

From the BBC’s Ross Hawkins

Mood in room respectful sombre bloody hot says Mp as May indicated intention to stand down. Thought she was passionate. Neither pm nor chief whip crying

— Ross Hawkins (@rosschawkins) March 27, 2019

More from what Theresa May told the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee.

From the Spectator’s James Forsyth

May said she wanted an orderly handover to a new Tory PM. She told MPs she had heard the message. No date given for departure. But clear sense she will leave before phase 2

— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) March 27, 2019

From the Mirror’s Pippa Crerar

🚨🚨BIG NEWS: PM suggests to Tory MPs she’ll stand down in the summer. https://t.co/KpkKc4Re7F

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

Two more MPs tell me the PM told them she would leave once she got the deal through. No dates but indicated it would be before next stage of negotiations.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

Brexiteer MP Pauline Latham says she’ll now back the deal. “I feel relieved. There was pent up frustration by many people. It was inevitable and I feel she’s made the right decision. She has actually read the mood of the party which was a surprise.”

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

Adds she thought the PM would be “sad” and her voice cracked with emotion. Two other MPs in the room said they would fall in behind the deal now she has said she’ll go.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

From Sky’s Faisal Islam

Tory MP: PM has told 1922 that she will stand down “Before the second phase of negotiations”...

Another minister has this form of words: “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to secure a smooth and orderly Brexit”

— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) March 27, 2019

From the Mail on Sunday’s Harry Cole

MP gives summary of PM: I may not go round the bars and gossip in tea rooms but I have heard what colleagues are saying. If that means I have to handover in an orderly process then so be it. Want next PM to come from in this room not across the divide.

— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) March 27, 2019

Whips whispering to MPs: “before the summer”

— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) March 27, 2019

From LBC’s Theo Usherwood

The terms of Theresa May’s departure clearly defined: if you want me out, vote for the deal AND the necessary legislation for an orderly Brexit on May 22.

— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) March 27, 2019

May tells Tory MPs she will resign before next phase of Brexit talks

These are from my colleague Dan Sabbagh.

T May is going in time for next phase of negotiations

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) March 27, 2019

May will quit after the withdrawal agreement is passed says James Cartlidge emerging from the room

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) March 27, 2019

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, has just been speaking in the Brexit debate. He quoted what the SNP MEP Alyn Smith told the European parliament in its debate this morning. Smith said he could not predict the future, but he knew Scotland was a European country, and, if the EU did not exist, it would be necessary to create it, and Scotland would want to be part of it.

If Scotland was taken out of the EU, independence would be the only way it could return, he said. He told the MEPs that he was no asking them to solve Scotland’s domestic discussion. He went on:

I am asking you to leave a light on so that we can find our way home.

Very moving speech about Scotland’s place in Europe, applauded by @donaldtusk and mainstream politicians across the European Parliament. Well done @AlynSmith 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇪🇺 https://t.co/XpZgoVALqg

— Angus Robertson (@AngusRobertson) March 27, 2019

Here are some quotes from MPs who have been speaking in the Brexit debate. I have taken them from the Press Association wire.

The Tory Brexiter John Baron defended his amendment calling for a no-deal Brexit. He said:

I appeal to the house for rational consideration with regards to no-deal. I know there are a lot of scare stories out there, but this is a repeat of 2016. Those scare stories were wrong then, they are wrong now.

Let’s have a note of optimism about this country, a note of optimism about the capability of this country.

Let’s back this country and if we can’t get a good deal, then let’s actually get back to economic reality and realise we already trade profitably with the majority of the world’s GDP outside the EU on WTO terms, there is no reason we can’t trade within the EU on such terms.

Labour’s Stephen Kinnock said the Nick Boles common market 2.0 amendment honoured the EU referendum result. He said:

A 52-48 vote was certainly not an instruction for a disastrous no-deal, or a hard Canada-style job-destroying Brexit. It was an instruction to move house but to stay in the same neighbourhood ...

It is worth remembering what Nigel Farage told a Question Time audience in 2016. ‘I hear people say’ he said: ‘Wouldn’t it be terrible if we were like Norway or Switzerland. Really? They are rich, they are happy and they are self-governing countries’.

Backing the same amendment, Nick Boles said he wanted to make the case for compromise.

Not as something cowardly but as something courageous. In a divided country and a divided parliament, finding and sustaining a compromise that most people can support is a noble endeavour.

After years of paralysing conflict we have moral duty to open our minds this afternoon and reach for a compromise that will allow us to put the interminable Brexit row behind us.

The great strength of the common market 2.0 proposal relative to all other Brexit compromises is that it offers something important and valuable to everyone and every party in this house.

Updated

Theresa May is due to address the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee at 5pm. In a blog about what she might say, the Spectator’s James Forsyth says:

Speculation is rife that she will use the meeting to announce a timetable for her departure, though there’s no official line from Number 10 on this.

I understand that Tory switchers are being told that Theresa May will go if the withdrawal agreement bill gets royal assent, which would have to be by 22 May. This would, obviously, require meaningful vote 3 to pass – though ... John Bercow is not keen on the vote happening at all.

Updated

The People’s Vote campaign has also published a useful analysis (pdf) of five of the alternative Brexit options being debated this afternoon. The campaign, which favours a second referendum (and, implicitly at least, staying in the UK), thinks all are flawed.

The document includes this chart.

Assessement of 5 Brexit options
Assessement of 5 Brexit options Photograph: People's Vote

Updated

This is useful - a chart from Simon Usherwood from UK in a Changing Europe, an academic network, explaining the implications of the eight amendments for the EU.

UK in a Changing EU chart
UK in a Changing EU chart Photograph: Implications of amendments to EU/UK in a Changing Europe

Newsnight’s Nicholas Watt has more thinking on what the government could do to get round John Bercow’s ruling.

Ministers think it is highly unlikely PM could argue that change of date meets substantial change demanded by speaker

— Nicholas Watt (@nicholaswatt) March 27, 2019

And that ain’t possible Mr W bc no paving motion

— Nicholas Watt (@nicholaswatt) March 27, 2019

Govt source: only realistic way to circumvent John Bercow’s ruling on meaningful vote is to incorporate it into Withdrawal Bill (the one implementing Brexit deal). So second reading of that bill would effectively be the meaningful vote

— Nicholas Watt (@nicholaswatt) March 27, 2019

Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, is speaking in the debate now.

He says the government is going to table a motion for the Commons to sit on Friday, in case it wants to hold the third meaningful vote then. He does not confirm that the debate will be held then. But he says it is better to have the option, and not need it, than to need it, and not have it available.

Updated

The 33 Tory MPs who rebelled to vote for indicative votes business motion

Thirty three Tory MPs defied the whip and voted in favour of the business motion. The full list is here. That is three more than the 30 Tories who rebelled on this issue on Monday.

33 Tories who voted for business motion
33 Tories who voted for business motion Photograph: HoC

Two Labour MPs joined the Tories, the DUP and three independent in voting against the business motion: Stephen Hepburn and Kate Hoey.

Reaction to Bercow's latest ruling

Here is some reaction to the Bercow ruling (see 3.47pm) from people who follow Commons procedure closely.

From Nikki da Costa, the former head of legislative affairs for Theresa May at Number 10

This is extraordinary and extremely inflammatory in a long series of inflammatory actions https://t.co/WBuLwu7rEE

— Nikki da Costa (@nmdacosta) March 27, 2019

From Chris White, a former adviser to William Hague when he was leader of the Commons

This is extraordinary. The Speaker is saying that the Commons can set aside Standing Orders on Government precedence for its business, but it *cannot* do so to hold a vote on the same motion again. https://t.co/ckfV9mOOmf

— Chris White (@cgwOMT) March 27, 2019

MPs have literally just voted to pass a Business Motion that disapplies the precedent for the purposes of indicative votes, yet the Speaker apparently is saying that it would not be in order for the Government to do so for a third attempt at a Meaningful Vote. https://t.co/mk8PUwZKNk

— Chris White (@cgwOMT) March 27, 2019

White is correct. Bercow said he would disallow a notwithstanding motion in relation to MV3. But the business motion today includes a “notwithstanding” element. Its third clause says:

(c) notwithstanding the practice of the house, any motion on matters that have been the subject of a prior decision of the house in the current session may be the subject of a decision;

From the Times’ Esther Webber

One clerk just texted me, unsolicited: "Why even have procedure anymore, apparently we're making it up as we go along"

— Esther Webber (@estwebber) March 27, 2019

From Jack Simson Caird, a research fellow at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

If I was the Government I would bring forward a motion tomorrow or Friday to approve the Withdrawal Agreement *only* and which set out the Government is committed to deliver the option on the Future Relationship that the majority of MPs can support through the votes on Monday.

— Jack Simson Caird (@jasimsoncaird) March 27, 2019

A WA only motion + commitment to listen to Commons' view on FR would pass speaker's test and would enable long extension if approved

— Jack Simson Caird (@jasimsoncaird) March 27, 2019

Updated

Eight amendments chosen by Bercow to be put to vote

John Bercow, the Speaker, is putting eight amendments to a vote.

Here they are. I have taken the summary of what each one says from the Press Association summary I posted earlier. The letters refer to the letters attached to each amendment in the order paper.

B - John Baron’s - No deal

Backed by Conservative MPs John Baron, David Amess, Martin Vickers and Stephen Metcalfe, the motion proposes leaving the European Union without a deal on April 12.

D - Nick Boles’s - common market 2.0

Tabled by Conservatives Nick Boles, Robert Halfon and Andrew Percy and Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, Lucy Powell and Diana Johnson. The motion proposes UK membership of the European free trade association and European Economic Area. It allows continued participation in the single market and a “comprehensive customs arrangement” with the EU after Brexit, which would remain in place until the agreement of a wider trade deal which guarantees frictionless movement of goods and an open border in Ireland.

H - George Eustice’s - Efta and EEA

A motion tabled by Conservative MP George Eustice – who quit as agriculture minister this month to fight for Brexit – proposes remaining within the EEA and rejoining Efta, but remaining outside a customs union with the EU. The motion was also signed by Conservative MPs including former minister Nicky Morgan and head of the Brexit Delivery Group Simon Hart.

J - Ken Clarke’s - Customs union

Requires a commitment to negotiate a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU” in any Brexit deal. Tabled by veteran Conservative Europhile Ken Clarke, backed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, Helen Goodman and chair of the Commons Brexit committee Hilary Benn and Tory former ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Sarah Newton.

K - Labour’s - Customs union and alignment with single market

Labour has tabled a motion proposing its plan for a close economic relationship with the EU. The plan includes a comprehensive customs union with a UK say on future trade deals; close alignment with the single market; matching new EU rights and protections; participation in EU agencies and funding programmes; and agreement on future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant

L - Joanna Cherry’s - Revocation to avoid no deal

Under this plan, if the government has not passed its withdrawal agreement, it would have to stage a vote on a no-deal Brexit two sitting days before the scheduled date of departure. If MPs refuse to authorise no-deal, the prime minister would be required to halt Brexit by revoking article 50. The motion, tabled by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry, has been signed by 33 MPs including the Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve, the Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Vince Cable, Labour’s Ben Bradshaw and all 11 members of the Independent Group.

M - Dame Margaret Beckett’s - Confirmatory public vote

Drawn up by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson and tabled by former foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett with the backing of scores of MPs across the House, this motion would require a public vote to confirm any Brexit deal passed by parliament before its ratification.

O - Marcus Fysh’s - Contingent preferential arrangements

A group of Conservative MPs, including Marcus Fysh, Steve Baker and Priti Patel, have signed a motion that calls for the government to seek to agree preferential trade arrangements with the EU, in case the UK is unable to implement a withdrawal agreement with the bloc.

What Bercow said that firmed up his 'no repeat votes' ruling

This is what John Bercow said about firming up his “no repeat votes” ruling. (See 3.32pm.) Reminding MPs of his original decision, Bercow told MPs:

In the course of answering questions following her statement [on Monday], the prime minister accepted this constraint, saying that: “I am very clear about the strictures that Mr Speaker gave when he made his statement last week and, were we to bring forward a further motion to this house, we would of course ensure that it met the requirements he made.”

I understand that the government may be thinking of bringing meaningful vote three before the house either tomorrow or even on Friday, if the house opts to sit that day.

Therefore, in order that there should be no misunderstanding, I wish to make clear that I do expect the government to meet the test of change. They should not seek to circumvent my ruling by means of tabling either a notwithstanding motion or a tabling motion. The table office has been instructed that no such motions will be accepted.

I very much look forward, colleagues, to today’s debate and votes which give the house the chance to start the process of positively indicating what it wants.

There had been speculation that the government might get round Bercow’s ruling, which is based on a rule in the Commons bible, Erskine May, by having a vote on a motion disapplying the rule in this case. That option has now been disallowed.

Updated

Bercow puts prospect of fresh meaningful vote in doubt by firming up his 'no repeat votes' ruling

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, is now talking about his ruling about “no repeat votes”, that prevented Theresa May from bringing back her meaningful vote before the EU summit.

He says there is talk of the government bringing back the vote on Thursday or Friday next week.

He says that, for this to be allowed, there would have to a substantial change to the motion.

And he says he has instructed the clerks to block any attempt by the government to get round this ruling by tabling a “notwithstanding” motion – ie, a one-off rule change that would allow the debate to go ahead despite the usual Commons rule.

  • Bercow restates his ruling that he will only allow a new vote on the Brexit deal if it has changed significantly.
  • He says he will block any attempt by the government to use a procedural rule change to get round his decision.

This is new, and unexpected. It has probably reduced the chances of the meaningful vote being brought back this week (MV3), and it makes the chance of MV3 never happening a distinct possibility.

Updated

John Bercow, the Speaker, says he is putting eight amendments to a vote.

May loses bid to cancel indicative votes debate

Theresa May has lost again. Her attempt to defeat the business motion failed, and it was passed by 331 votes to 287 - a majority of 44.

Updated

From Sky’s Kay Burley

Standby for a DUP statement

— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) March 27, 2019

Theresa May could be quite close to announcing her resignation as PM. But, according to some new Ipsos MORI polling, she is still seen as having what it takes to be a good prime minister than all of her most obvious rivals.

Polling on PM and her rivals
Polling on PM and her rivals Photograph: Ipsos MORI

And this is from the Spectator’s James Forsyth.

Tory switchers believe that Theresa May will go when the withdrawal agreement bill gets Royal assent

— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) March 27, 2019

From the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

Last min nerves in Commons that biz motion, which enables the Letwin temporary takeover might be a tighter vote than assumed - be surprised if it doesn’t but could be close

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 27, 2019

MPs are now voting on the business motion.

If you are interested, you can read the text of it on the order paper here (pdf).

On Monday MPs voted in favour of the Oliver Letwin amendment approving the indicative votes process by 329 votes to 302 – a majority of 27. Thirty Tories rebelled and backed the amendment. You would expect the result of today’s vote to be broadly similar. If it is not, that could be because support for the Letwin process has grown, or shrunk, over the last 48 hours.

Updated

In the Commons the vote on the business motion has just wrapped up. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory Brexiter, spoke against it, and it all got very public school.

Then it gets niche.

Rees-Mogg (Eton) accuses Boles (Winchester) of making a Wykehamist point: "highly intelligent but fundamentally wrong."

Then he throws public school shade on Old Etonian Letwin of being more Winchester than Eton.

Can't see Letwin coming back from that.

— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) March 27, 2019

Today in parliament:
- Rees-Mogg accuses Boles and Letwin of not respecting the result of the referendum.
- Boles points out they voted for the Brexit deal, and Rees-Mogg didn’t.
- Rees-Mogg accuses them of not acting like Etonians.

— Henry Mance (@henrymance) March 27, 2019

I am not sure @Jacob_Rees_Mogg’s denigration of @oletwinofficial as behaving more like a Wykehamist (alumnus of Winchester school) rather than the Old Etonian he is will win him many votes in Red Tory Britain

— Robert Peston (@Peston) March 27, 2019

Here is ITV’s Robert Peston on the government’s decision to give MPs and junior ministers a free vote.

Been in transit. So only just seen Smith whipping notice. It is fascinating. @theresa_may will allow junior members of the payroll to vote with their consciences in indicative votes. She clearly took seriously risk that up to 20 ministers would have quit if no free vote

— Robert Peston (@Peston) March 27, 2019

And another question from BTL

Hi Andrew, thanks to you and the Guardian team for greatly increasing my understanding of the political mess we're all currently living through. I have a question. Much is being made of the need for the PM to bring the ERG around to voting for her deal, and how their support is crucial. Isn't this only half the picture? Won't the staunchly Remain tories vote against her deal regardless, and so May won't have the numbers even with the ERG, DUP and the odd Labour straggler?

The remain Tories are less important, because there are fewer of them, but almost a dozen of them have voted against May’s deal, and so they do count.

My colleague Rowena Mason has been looking at the numbers that May needs in more detail. She has sent me this summary of the PM’s situation.

The magic number that Theresa May needs for her deal is 320 votes. It means she could get the withdrawal agreement over the line if she had:

- 303 out of 313 Conservative MPs

- 10 DUP MPs

- 7 Labour and Independent MPs who have already backed her deal

So unless she gets more Labour abstentions or votes, she can only afford to lose 10 Tory votes. This means it is still looking extremely tight for her – even assuming the eventual backing of Eurosceptic big beasts like Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and the DUP.

There are currently six or seven Tory MPs (eg Justine Greening and Sam Gyimah) who want a second referendum and therefore guaranteed to vote down May’s deal come what may. And there are undoubtedly more than a dozen Tory Eurosceptic MPs who currently say they are still immovably opposed – like Andrea Jenkyns, Steve Baker, Crispin Blunt and Julian Lewis.

Updated

Here is a question from BTL, or two.

@Andrew
2 Questions...
1. You posted on Monday night that the orders for today had also called for Monday to be given over to Parliamentary business rather than Government business. Is there anything to stop them repeating that process into Tuesday or some other day next week?
2. Peston last night on ITV suggested that the AG and Cabinet Secretary were of the view that anything that Parliament does decide (seems a long way off, I know) would be binding on the Executive. So if the votes ended up with - let's say - Revoke, she'd be obliged to go to Brussels and do that - or be in contempt (again) etc

Thanks v much - your work is greatly appreciated.

Obscure, Constitutional issues I know but quite pertinent here.

1) No, nothing at all. In theory the process could be self-perpetuating. That is why it alarms the government so much – even though Oliver Letwin did say earlier that, after Monday, if ministers were to accept what the Commons proposes, there would be no need for him to seize the order paper on any more days.

2) I did not see Peston’s report, but there is a write-up of it here.

Whether the PM would be bound by the vote would depend on the precise wording. Normally Commons motions are not binding on the government. But some categories of motions are considered binding – eg, “humble address” ones, and also, I think, ones that require or order (“mandate”, to use Peston’s word) the government to do something.

But these votes would not necessarily be legally binding, in the sense of capable of being enforced by a court. To bind the hands of the government in that way, MPs would have to pass legislation.

It would be interesting to read the Sedwill/Cox advice. I’m sure they know more than me. But the Peston story talks about May possibly being in breach of the ministerial code if she failed to follow an instruction of parliament. That may be the case, but the person ultimately in charge of deciding whether or not a minister has broken the ministerial code is – the PM herself.

Updated

Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman confirmed that the party would whip for Margaret Beckett’s “confirmatory public vote” option – as well as Gareth Snell’s and Ken Clarke’s, calling for a customs union, and of course the one setting out Labour’s own Brexit policy.

And he said whips would be “encouraging” Labour MPs to support common market 2.0, the cross-party proposal drawn up by Stephen Kinnock, among others.

The spokesman then embarked on a long justification of Labour’s support for a referendum – which has sparked a backlash, and could yet result in resignations tonight. He said:

The basis for that is that they’re all in line with our policy – in the case of the public vote motion, in the sense of our conference policy that if we’re unable to achieve a general election, keeping all options on the table. So the intention is to support those options going forward in the process – and obviously it is an unusual process, and these aren’t normal parliamentary votes.

Asked if shadow frontbenchers would be sacked if they disobeyed the whip later, he said “the discipline arrangements are a matter for the chief whip”.

Corbyn’s spokesman also pointed to the phrase “in this parliament”, in the Beckett motion, and suggested that meant that if a future Labour government were to negotiate its own, distinct Brexit deal – after a snap general election, for example – that would not need to be subject to a confirmatory ballot. He said:

The other issue of controversy about it is the issue about whether it implies support or abstention on Theresa May’s deal, which we have said we would not support in any circumstances.

That flatly contradicts what Corbyn’s deputy, Tom Watson, said in his speech to the Put it to the People march on Saturday, when he offered to vote for May’s deal in exchange for a referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs
Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs Photograph: UK PARLIAMENTARY RECORDING UNIT/HANDOUT/EPA

Updated

In the Commons Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the house, is speaking now.

She says she is disappointed that MPs voted for this process on Monday. It should be the government that decided what business gets debated, she says, not the house itself.

She says anything the house decides must be deliverable and negotiable, and it must deliver on the results of the referendum.

She says the withdrawal agreement is complicated. And the EU has said it must be accepted if the UK is to get the transition, she says.

She says the government will vote against the business of the house motion because it opposes the principle of the Commons taking control of the parliamentary timetable.

Andrea Leadsom
Andrea Leadsom Photograph: Parliament TV

How EU is preparing for different outcomes in Commons

The government could make another attempt to win a majority for Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Friday.

Friday though remains a possibility for MV3. It is March 29 after all. Would require a change in house business, but can be done easily.

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) March 27, 2019

The choice of Friday 29 March is not an accident. Although no longer Brexit day, it remains an important day in the calendar, because of the two-step extension process imposed by the EU last week.

EU leaders agreed to grant the UK an extension until 22 May if the withdrawal agreement is approved by the House of Commons “by 29 March 2019 at the latest”. But if the withdrawal agreement is not approved, the extension will expire on 12 April, a UK domestic deadline for confirming British participation in the European elections.

The text of the EU’s legal decision states:

In the event that the withdrawal agreement is not approved by the House of Commons by 29 March 2019 at the latest, the period provided for in article 50(3) TEU is extended until 12 April 2019. In that event, the United Kingdom will indicate a way forward before 12 April 2019, for consideration by the European council.

Some EU sources suggest there could be some leniency on 29 March deadline. If, for example, MPs vote for the deal on 1 April. “The text of the legal decision says that we need to vote by Friday,” a senior EU source said. “Quite honestly I think that we will be lenient on that. The real question is whether we have clarity in the coming days, if this going to work or not.”

That remains unclear given the “volatile” nature of British politics that is changing day-by-day, the source said.

The EU has already pencilled in a summit for a few days before the 12 April deadline, although it is impossible to say whether that summit will be for EU leaders to decide on a long extension or help them prepare for no-deal.

Last week’s meeting with Theresa May left EU leaders unconvinced that the deal would pass, but a positive meaningful vote three has not been completely ruled out.

Neither, however, has a major government crisis leading to new elections. Officials see two outcomes from a soft Brexit result of the indicative votes process. “It could mobilise forces for a slim majority for May’s deal, or we will have a serious government crisis which will probably lead to elections,” the EU source said.

In that case it would not be clear if the prime minister would be in a position to request an extension. Whatever happens in parliament, for the EU it is the government that counts. “Our interlocutor is not the Commons, our interlocutor is the UK government,” the EU source said.

The European commission in Brussels
The European commission in Brussels Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Updated

Here is the message sent to Tory MPs from the chief whip, Julian Smith, saying there will be a free vote tonight. This is from Sky’s Aubrey Allegretti.

Confirmed: Free vote for Tory MPs to see off the threat of resignations.

Here’s the message sent by chief whip to Tory MPs confirming it. pic.twitter.com/9ePwb32Jy8

— Aubrey Allegretti (@breeallegretti) March 27, 2019

Back in the Commons, Letwin is still speaking, and defending the constitutional propriety of his business motion. Jacob Rees-Mogg says he objects to today’s procedure. The government should be in charge, he says, citing the role played by privy counsellors in Tudor parliaments overseeing the Queen’s business. Letwin says the Commons has the final say over its own procedures.

Updated

And here is my colleague Jessica Elgot on the Labour whipping arrangements.

New - Labour will whip to support

F&J - Snell/Clarke on Customs Union
K - Labour’s Brexit plan
M - Beckett on second referendum

They are also “encouraging support”
D - Common Market 2.0

Not whipped because not technically party policy but implication is Corbyn will support

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) March 27, 2019

Tory MPs to be given free vote on Brexit alternatives in indicative votes, with cabinet abstaining

This is from the Conservative MP James Cartlidge.

Whips just confirmed #indicativevotes will be free votes with Cabinet abstaining.

— James Cartlidge MP (@jc4southsuffolk) March 27, 2019

Theresa May made it clear on Monday and again at PMQs, that she will not necessarily accept any Brexit plan that emerges from the indicative votes process.

But she was under strong pressure to give Tory MPs a free vote, not least from pro-Europeans in the government, and so she is going to let Tory MPs vote for what they want, even though the government is opposed to many of the proposals on the menu.

MPs debate business motion for indicative votes debate

MPs are now debating the business motion for today’s debate.

Often business motions (which set the timetable for a debate) go through on the nod. But today’s is quite complicated, and the debate on the business motion could go on until 3pm.

Sir Oliver Letwin, the Conservative former cabinet minister who moved the amendment setting up the indicative votes procedure, is moving the motion. Normally it would be the leader of the Commons moving the business motion, but the government is not in charge today, and so Letwin is moving the motion from the government backbenches.

This is a very important point we’re making here about how our country is ultimately governed.

In an emergency the House of Commons is capable of controlling its own business in such a way as to find a solution the vast majesties of Whitehall and government have not been able to provide us with.

It’s because Whitehall has failed, not due to the inadequacy of any individual but due to the basic difficulty of the situation, that the Commons is taking these steps.

Told by an MP that Twitter is reporting that the government will vote against the business motion, Letwin at first says he does not take any notice of Twitter. Then he goes on to say that it is not a surprise that the government is whipping against the business motion.

Kate Hoey, the Labour Brexiter, intervenes. She says the business motion today is not the same as the amendment passed on Monday. She says it is setting aside Monday for further indicative votes on Monday.

Letwin concedes that he wants to “book a slot” for Monday. He says he does not expect the votes today to produce a majority for one proposal. That is why he wants another round of voting on Monday.

Oliver Letwin
Oliver Letwin Photograph: Parliament TV

Updated

Government to whip MPs to try to prevent further indicate votes debate on Monday

These are from the Downing Street post-PMQs briefing.

From my colleague Heather Stewart

NEW - Downing St spox says the government will whip *against* the business motion for this afternoon’s indicative votes - If it wins, the whole thing will be off. “Obviously we oppose the principle,” a spox says.

— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) March 27, 2019

What is significant about this is that the business motion does not just set out the procedures to be followed today; it also says that Monday next week should also be set aside for another indicative votes debate, instead of being set aside for government business, as is usual under standing order 14. If the government were to win this vote, the indicative votes process would end tonight - before it has been fully concluded.

The votes tonight will show which Brexit alternative is most popular. But Oliver Letwin plans some sort of run-off procedure on Monday, to clarify an ultimate winner. See 9.33am.

From the Mirror’s Pippa Crerar

No 10 spox confirms Tories will OPPOSE business motion for indicative votes. If enough MPs change their mind whole process would be off. Not sure this is exactly the PM “engaging constructively” with Commons as promised.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

PM again told House that meaningful vote would be “this week”. But her spox clarifies “we’ll only seek to bring back a meaningful vote when we believe we have a realistic prospect of success”.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

Downing Street not being drawn on what PM will say at ‘22 later. “This is obviously a big week for Brexit. Talking to her colleagues in the ‘22 is the sort of thing you would expect her to do”.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

On whether the PM was hinting in the Commons that she was standing down, her spox says: “The PM is totally focused on the job at hand and will remain so”. But won’t say for how long.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) March 27, 2019

From ITV’s Carl Dinnen

BREAKING Downing Street confirm they will start the process for allowing the Commons to sit on Friday IN CASE they want to go ahead with the third Meaningful Vote then.

— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) March 27, 2019

Updated

PMQs - Snap verdict

PMQs - Snap verdict: PMQs used to be one of the political highlights of the week. Increasingly that has become less and less true (partly because Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are both relatively uninspiring performers in this arena), but today it felt like a particularly diminished event, that did not shed much light on the crisis facing the country, or even resonate with much drama. With the exception of Scottish questions, it may be the most boring half hour in the Commons today. Corbyn devoted all his questions to Brexit, and he started by challenging May to explain what was wrong with a customs union – a pertinent question given that is where the indicative votes process may lead. But May rebutted his question without much difficulty, and his attack on the government over its unwillingness to commit to accepting the result of the indicative votes process did not get very far because May was able to reply, correctly, that Labour’s position is much the same. The most awkward question for May on Brexit came from her own colleague Andrew Bridgen, who declared that she had now forfeited the trust of his constituents. (See 12.05am.) But even that did not discomfort May much, and some observers were left speculating that perhaps a private decision to stand down soon has lightened her mood.

PM joking in the chamber and at other moments being more forthright than usual. Could this be a sign that Theresa May has made a decision about her future in office? Weight lifted? Notably didn’t deny SNP Q about her departure.

— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) March 27, 2019

May on spiky, punchy #PMQs form today, looks more relaxed than she has been in weeks. Is this cos she's mentally liberated herself with a departure timetable to be announced at '22 later?
Or cos Boris, Moggy and all her critics are eating huge slices of humble pie?

— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) March 27, 2019

May’s response to the SNP leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, also fuelled speculation that she is not planning to stay in office for long.

Intriguing response to @IanBlackfordMP’s pre-accusation May about to abandon ship. She insisted “my sense of duty means I have kept working...”. No future tense in her response #PMQs

— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) March 27, 2019

Crikey. @theresa_may does not knock back @IanBlackfordMP suggestion she will be stepping down soon

— Robert Peston (@Peston) March 27, 2019

For the record, this is what Blackford asked:

It is becoming increasingly clear that the cost the prime minister will pay to force her disastrous deal through is the price of her departure. Yet again another Tory prime minister is willing to ride off into the sunset and saddle us with a crisis in the UK and an extreme rightwing Brexiteer coming into Downing Street. Does the prime minister feel no sense of responsibility for what she is about to do?

May replied:

It is my sense of responsibility and duty that has meant I have kept working to ensure Brexit is delivered.

It is the sort of answer you might expect from someone who thinks their days as PM are numbered.

Updated

Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, says global climate emissions have hit their highest levels. Will May back calls for a green new deal?

May says Lucas should have noted what the government is already doing. It is committed to clean growth.

Labour’s Chris Bryant asks about skin cancer (for which he was recently treated). He calls for a major public health campaign to get people to check out their bodies for suspicious moles, and to use sunscreen. The government can save lives, he says.

May agrees. She says Matt Hancock, the health secretary, will have heard Bryant’s request.

Updated

Nigel Dodds, the DUP leader at Wesminster, says the Belfast city deal was signed yesterday. Will May ensure that this will go forward even without the Northern Ireland executive sitting?

May says she can commit to ensure that the city deal goes ahead even without the power-sharing executive being in place.

The DUP’s Jim Shannon asks about dementia funding.

May says increasing numbers of people are living with dementia. The UK is playing a significant part in the international effort to find better treatment, she says.

Labour’s Afzal Khan asks about a Guardian story about the Conservative party reinstating 15 party members suspended for Islamophobia. The party is in denial about the problem, he says.

May says the party does take the issue seriously, and investigates all complaints.

Updated

Sir Bill Cash, the Tory Brexiter, says lawyers are convinced that May’s deal with the EU extending article 50 is unlawful. Did May get legal advice before agreeing that? And will May publish it? And will she withdraw this evening’s motion changing Brexit date?

May says Brexit date has already changed under international law. She says the Commons voted to seek an extension to article 50. She says, if the statutory instrument being voted on tonight is not passed, that will cause legal confusion.

Labour’s Chi Onwurah says she used to be opposed to a second referendum because it would be so divisive. But the country is paralysed. Will May consider the possibility she is making a terrible mistake?

May says, if Onwurah wants to deliver on the referendum result in an orderly way, she should back May’s deal.

Labour’s Diana Johnson says the north needs an industrial renaissance.

May says she wants an industrial policy that works for every region. There has been significant investment in the north, she says.

Kirstene Hair, a Scottish Conservative, says more than 7,000 members of the armed forces based in Scotland have to pay more in tax because of the Scottish government’s tax rates. Will the UK government compensate them?

May says a majority of armed forces personnel based in Scotland are affected by differential tax rates. She says the UK government will again compensate them in the coming year.

Sir Peter Bottomley, a Conservative, says the PM’s deal has not passed parliament because of those who want to stay in the EU, hardline Brexiters and Labour. But most people in the country want it to pass.

May says that is the message she gets from the public too.

Labour has now put out a statement effectively confirming that it is backing the Beckett confirmatory referendum amendment. (See 9.33am, 10.58am and 11.58am.) A spokesperson said:

In line with our policy, we’re supporting motions to keep options on the table to prevent a bad Tory deal or no deal.

The Beckett amendment actually goes further than the Labour statement it implies. It says any amendment should be subject to a referendum. It says:

That this house will not allow in this parliament the implementation and ratification of any withdrawal agreement and any framework for the future relationship unless and until they have been approved by the people of the United Kingdom in a confirmatory public vote.

Updated

The SNP leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, asks May if she has a sense of responsibility for what she is doing on Brexit.

May says she is trying to deliver Brexit.

Blackford says he was at the march for a second referendum on Saturday. Some 6 million people have signed the petition calling for article 50 to be revoked. Will May accept the will of parliament, or will she continue to be held hostage by the hard right and the DUP?

May says she is delivering on the referendum result. Blackford wants to stay in the EU. That means staying in the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy, which would not be in the interests of Scottish farmers or Scottish fishermen.

Updated

May says epetitions are subject to checks to ensure they are not manipulated by foreign powers.

Corbyn says May has not been able to guarantee dynamic alignment on workers’ standards. He says Harrington said in his resignation letter May should find a consensus negotiating position. If one emerges, will May accept it as the basis for her negotiating position?

May says the objective they should all have is delivering Brexit. She says she has been clear on non-regression on workers’ rights. She says Corbyn is shaking his head (probably because non-regression is not the same as dynamic alignment). She says she will listen to what parliament has to say about matching new rights offered by the EU.

Corbyn says May did not answer the question about whether she would accept what the Commons decided. She says May is unable to compromise, unable to unite the country, and unable to govern. She should change course, or go.

May says she answered the question on accepting the result of MPs’ decision in the Commons on Monday. For Labour Keir Starmer also refused to commit to what MPs decided, she says. She says Labour would give the UK capital flight, a run on the pound and a drop in living standards. Corbyn is the biggest threat to living standards, she says.

Corbyn says the TUC and the CBI back a customs union as part of a deal. So it is strange for a Conservative PM to reject what business wants. Why won’t she consider a customs union?

May says Corbyn should have listened to her earlier answer. Corbyn stood on a platform saying he wanted the UK to be able to strike its own trade deal. And now he wants a referendum too. Whatever happened to straight-talking, honest politics?

Corbyn says many of May’s colleagues want a race to the bottom. Quoting what Richard Harrington said when he resigned as business minister, he asks why she is pressing ahead with her deal.

May says she does not support a race to the bottom. The government has enhanced workers’ rights, she says. As Labour MPs jeer, she says Labour can never stand it when told the Tories stand up for workers.

Jeremy Corbyn asks May what her plan B is.

May says she has a deal that can deliver Brexit for the British people. Other options do not do that.

Corbyn says May’s deal has been defeated twice, by in one case the largest ever majority for a government defeat. Does May agree backing a customs union is the best way of getting her deal over the line?

May says her deal delivers the benefits of a customs union, while allowing the UK to negotiate independent trade deals. Corbyn used to want that too, she says. She says the UK wants to negotiate trade in its own interests.

The Tory Brexiter Andrew Bridgen says May said on more than 100 occasions the UK would leave the EU on 29 March. Now, because of our EU masters, we are not doing that. He says her constituents will never trust her again.

May says she can deliver on Brexit if MPs like Bridgen back her deal.

Updated

The SNP’s Stewart Hosie says Brexit is costing the UK £1bn a week in lost growth. It is not the fault of the EU, or of MPs voting with their consciences. So will May admit it is her fault? And when will she resign?

May says the Brexit deal delivers on the result of the referendum. She accepts that result, unlike Hosie, she says.

Theresa May starts by saying she will chair a summit on serious violence next week.

John Bercow, the Speaker, starts PMQs by saying Woody Johnson, the US ambassador, is in the gallery.

From ITV’s Robert Peston

Labour MPs are being whipped to support the Beckett/Kyle/Wilson indicative vote motion that promotes Brexit referendum

— Robert Peston (@Peston) March 27, 2019

So that means Peter Kyle was right, and Barry Gardiner was wrong. See 9.33am.

Updated

PMQs

PMQs is about to start.

Here is the list of MPs down to ask a question.

I normally post a snap verdict after the May/Corbyn exchanges, on the grounds that for most people this is the highlight, but today I will do it at the end because May’s exchanges with her own MPs may be just as interesting.

PMQs
PMQs Photograph: HoC

And John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said this morning that what Barry Gardiner said on the Today programme about the Beckett confirmatory referendum amendment being difficult for the party (see 9.33am) was in line with party policy. Asked if he agreed with Gardiner about Labour not being a remain party, McDonnell said:

We had to accept in our manifesto respect for the referendum result. We campaigned for remain, we lost, we have to accept that.

We have to be honest with people. If there was another referendum now I personally would vote for remain because I think that is best for the country.

What he is saying is exactly in line with party policy. We have got to prevent a no-deal, prevent a bad deal, advocate for our own policy, try to get a general election if we can, but failing that, if there is a logjam, yes we will if necessary go back to the people.

Updated

Dame Margaret Beckett, the Labour MP, has said she expects the party to back her confirmatory referendum amendment. She said:

I rest my understanding on what I heard Jeremy Corbyn, who is the leader of the Labour party, say at the dispatch box, which is that we will apply the principle on going back to the people for confirmation to any decision that we’ve reached. And that’s where we stand.

This morning party sources were saying the decision on how to whip on this amendment had not yet been taken. (See 10.58am.)

Updated

This is from Nigel Dodds, the DUP leader at Westminster.

We will be supporting this way forward in the vote later today pic.twitter.com/F4YKywAJfY

— Nigel Dodds (@NigelDoddsDUP) March 27, 2019

In the European parliament this morning Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader who now sits as a Brexit party MEP, said it was “inevitable” that the UK was heading for a delay to its departure from the EU. He told MEPs:

You should ask yourselves: ‘Do you really want that? Do you really want Brexit to utterly dominate the next couple of years of your business to the exclusion of your many other ambitions?

Do you really want the UK to contest the European elections, to send back a very large number of leave MEPs, just at a time when you are fighting populism – as you see it – across the continent?

And, to cries of “No” from some MEPs and “Yes” from others, he asked: “Do you really want me back in this place?”

The EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, replied:

Mr Farage, no one in Brussels is trying to steal Brexit from you, no one is trying to undo the vote of the British people.

It is not Brussels that decided that the UK would leave the EU. You were the ones who made that choice and you are the ones who have to take your responsibility and face up to the consequences of that decision. No one else.

Nigel Farage (left) greeting Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, in the European parliament ahead of today’s debate.
Nigel Farage (left) greeting Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, in the European parliament before today’s debate.

Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Updated

Vote Leave campaign director dismisses ERG Brexiters as 'delusional' and 'useful idiots'

Dominic Cummings, the Vote Leave campaign director, has posted a blog responding to the Commons privileges committee report saying he should be admonished for being in contempt of parliament. (See 11.06am.) He says he did offer to give evidence to the culture committee, and then to the privileges committee.

But what is more interesting is what he says about the current state of Brexit.

  • Cummings condemns hardline Brexiters in the European Research Group as “delusional” and “useful idiots”. He says:

Those of you in the narcissist-delusional subset of the ERG who have spent the last three years scrambling for the 8.10 Today slot while spouting gibberish about trade and the law across SW1 – ie exactly the contemptible behaviour that led to your enforced marginalisation during the referendum and your attempt to destroy Vote Leave – you are also in the pirate category. You were useful idiots for remain during the campaign and with every piece of bullshit from Bill Cash et al you have helped only remain for three years. Remember how you WELCOMED the backstop as a ‘triumph’ in December 2017 when it was obvious to everybody who knew what was going on — NOT the cabinet obviously — that this effectively ended the ‘negotiations’? Remember how Bernard Jenkin wrote on ConHome that he didn’t have to ‘ruin his weekend’ reading the document to know it was another success for the natural party of government – bringing to mind very clearly how during the referendum so many of you guys were too busy shooting or skiing or chasing girls to do any actual work. You should be treated like a metastasising tumour and excised from the UK body politic.

Cummings has been contemptuous of backbench Tory Brexiters in the Commons for years. During the EU referendum campaign he used to refer to them as the “flying monkeys”.

  • He suggests the UK could in future abandon any commitments it makes to the EU as part of the Brexit settlement. In a message directed at Vote Leave activists, he says:

Also, don’t worry about the so-called ‘permanent’ commitments this historically abysmal cabinet are trying to make on our behalf. They are not ‘permanent’ and a serious government – one not cowed by officials and their bullshit ‘legal advice’ with which they have herded ministers like sheep – will dispense with these commitments and any domestic law enforcing them.

Cummings used to be an adviser to Michael Gove, the environment secretary, when Gove was education secretary. Gove has also suggested that over time the UK could harden up any Brexit settlement, although he has not gone as far as Cummings, who is suggesting the UK could easily renege on any promises made to the EU.

(Cummings seems to be forgetting that they do read this stuff in Brussels. That’s one of the reasons why the EU has been determined to ensure the withdrawal agreement is legally watertight.)

Dominic Cummings at the Treasury committee in 2016 - one parliamentary committee he did agree to attend.
Dominic Cummings at the Treasury committee in 2016 – one parliamentary committee he did agree to attend. Photograph: House of Commons/PA

Updated

The campaign director of the official Leave campaign, Dominic Cummings has been found to be in contempt of parliament after he failed to appear before MPs investigating fake news. As the Press Association reports, the Commons privileges committee said in a report that Cummings’ refusal to give oral evidence constituted a “significant interference” in the work of the inquiry. However it acknowledged its sanctions were limited to recommending the Commons issue a formal “admonishment” for his conduct, raising questions about its enforcement powers. The admonishment would require a resolution of the house which, if passed, “should be communicated to Cummings by the clerk of the house”, the committee said in its report.

Cummings was found in contempt because he refused to appear before the Commons culture committee to give evidence for its “fake news” and disinformation inquiry. Damian Collins, the chair of the culture committee, said:

The Dominic Cummings case highlights the need for parliament to define in law what its powers should be to require witnesses to attend hearings, and what sanctions should apply if they do not. The current powers have been tested to their limits and found wanting.

Updated

Shadow cabinet split over whether to back confirmatory referendum amendment

Tom Watson, the Labour deputy leader, has said that, regardless of what his shadow cabinet colleague Barry Gardiner said on the Today programme about the confirmatory public vote amendment (see 9.33am), he will be backing the amendment.

I've had many calls about Barry Gardiner's interview on @BBCr4today, which I missed. Whipping arrangement have not yet been agreed. I support the Kyle/Wilson amendment.

— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) March 27, 2019

The Labour MP Wes Streeting has also rejected Gardiner’s argument.

All three are possibilities. One thing’s for sure: I will be resuming my role as a membership retention hotline in the coming days to ask passionately pro-European Labour members not to leave. Again. https://t.co/SvH7FCLm07

— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) March 27, 2019

And the Labour MP Jess Phillips has too.

Triangulation will not work. We cannot be all things to all people and they know that, they are ok with that. I find people don't mind if they don't agree with you, if you are clear, principled and honest. Fudge it and they smell you out a mile off. https://t.co/goWrSMvog3

— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) March 27, 2019

Labour sources are saying the party has not yet decided whether its MPs will be whipped to vote for or against the confirmatory public vote amendment, or whether they will be given a free vote.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s lead Brexit spokesman, has been tweeting ahead of this afternoon’s Commons vote.

After the negative votes of the last weeks, on Monday the House of Commons finally voted in favour of something: Mr Letwin's amendment. My hope? After more than two years, this is the start of a cross-party cooperation to break the deadlock. #Brexit #EPlenary

— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) March 27, 2019

A majority to break the #Brexit deadlock will never have the support of the so-called hard brexiters. The only thing that counts for them is to seize power inside the Tory party. This is not in the national interest of the country.

— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) March 27, 2019

We are open to change the Political Declaration. First of all, by turning it into a more binding agreement between the EU and the UK. Secondly, by creating a deeper and broader relationship in the interest of both Britain and the European Union. #Brexit #EPlenary

— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) March 27, 2019

Verhofstadt also says the People’s Vote march in London at the weekend would mark the beginning of the campaign to take the UK back into the EU.

(People’s Vote will not necessarily welcome this. They are still hoping to get a referendum that might stop the UK leaving in the first place.)

The seed for Britain’s return to the European Union was planted last weekend by marching in London & nearly six million signing the article 50 petition.We need a deep EU-UK relationship that one day, I’m pretty sure, will lead Britain back into the family of European nations. pic.twitter.com/Tsvc8Udrok

— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) March 27, 2019

The Financial Times political editor, George Parker, says any offer by Theresa May to agree to stand down in return for Tory Brexiters backing her Brexit deal might not be spelled out in public.

1) May team are discussing with IDS/Graham Brady a timetable for her to quit which might not involve her announcing it publicly before MV3. This would avoid the unseemly impression that some Tory MPs (eg Boris) were backing the deal for base motiveshttps://t.co/722DPjXl4Q

— George Parker (@GeorgeWParker) March 27, 2019

2) However, there would be an understanding she would announce her departure when/if the ERG deliver the votes and get the deal over the line. Because there is "not much trust", ERG would reserve right to vote down Withdrawal Agreement bill at 2nd reading, if she reneges

— George Parker (@GeorgeWParker) March 27, 2019

Some Tory Brexiters have been openly calling for May’s resignation, while others, like Boris Johnson (here), have been making the same demand more obliquely, stressing the need for new leadership in the next phase of the Brexit process.

Updated

Guide to the 16 alternative Brexit plans on today's order paper

There are 16 Brexit plans on the order paper for today’s debate. The Speaker, John Bercow, will announce which ones will be put to a vote, probably when the debate proper starts at about 3pm.

You can read them all on the order paper here (pdf).

And here is a Press Association guide to what they all are.

Labour plan

Labour has tabled a motion proposing its plan for a close economic relationship with the EU. The plan includes a comprehensive customs union with a UK say on future trade deals; close alignment with the single market; matching new EU rights and protections; participation in EU agencies and funding programmes; and agreement on future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant.

Common market 2.0

Tabled by Conservatives Nick Boles, Robert Halfon and Andrew Percy and Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, Lucy Powell and Diana Johnson. The motion proposes UK membership of the European free trade association and European Economic Area. It allows continued participation in the single market and a “comprehensive customs arrangement” with the EU after Brexit, which would remain in place until the agreement of a wider trade deal which guarantees frictionless movement of goods and an open border in Ireland.

Confirmatory public vote

Drawn up by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson and tabled by former foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett with the backing of scores of MPs across the House, this motion would require a public vote to confirm any Brexit deal passed by parliament before its ratification.

Customs union

Requires a commitment to negotiate a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU” in any Brexit deal. Tabled by veteran Conservative Europhile Ken Clarke, backed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, Helen Goodman and chair of the Commons Brexit committee Hilary Benn and Tory former ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Sarah Newton.

Malthouse compromise Plan A

A cross-party proposal calls for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement to be implemented with the controversial “backstop” for the Irish border replaced by alternative arrangements. Backed by Conservatives from both the leave and remain wings of the party, including Nicky Morgan, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Damian Green, Steve Baker and Sir Graham Brady, as well as the DUP’s Nigel Dodds and Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey.

Revoke article 50

Under this plan, if the government has not passed its withdrawal agreement, it would have to stage a vote on a no-deal Brexit two sitting days before the scheduled date of departure. If MPs refuse to authorise no-deal, the prime minister would be required to halt Brexit by revoking article 50. The motion, tabled by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry, has been signed by 33 MPs including the Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve, the Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Vince Cable, Labour’s Ben Bradshaw and all 11 members of the Independent Group.

Revocation instead of no deal

Under this plan, the government is called on to “urgently” bring forward any legislation needed to revoke article 50 “in the event that the house fails to approve any withdrawal agreement four days before the end of the article 50 period”. It has been signed by 28 MPs, including the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil and Tory MP Ken Clarke.

New customs union

Tabled by Labour’s MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, Gareth Snell, this motion simply states that it should be the government’s objective to implement a trade agreement including a customs union with the EU. It mirrors an amendment to the trade bill secured by Labour peers in the House of Lords.

EEA/EFTA without customs union

A motion tabled by Conservative MP George Eustice – who quit as agriculture minister this month to fight for Brexit – proposes remaining within the EEA and rejoining Efta, but remaining outside a customs union with the EU. The motion was also signed by Conservative MPs including former minister Nicky Morgan and head of the Brexit Delivery Group Simon Hart.

No deal

Backed by Conservative MPs John Baron, David Amess, Martin Vickers and Stephen Metcalfe, the motion proposes leaving the European Union without a deal on April 12.

Unilateral right of exit from backstop

The same four Tory MPs, as well as Andrew Percy and Neil Parish, have also backed a motion to leave the EU on May 22 with the PM’s withdrawal agreement amended to allow the UK to unilaterally exit the Northern Ireland backstop.

Consent of devolved institutions

Backed by SNP MPs including Ian Blackford, Kirsty Blackman and Stephen Gethins, this motion requires an agreement that the UK will not leave without a deal, and that no action for leaving the EU will be taken without a consent motion passed in both the Scottish parliament and the Welsh assembly.

Contingent preferential arrangements

A group of Conservative MPs, including Marcus Fysh, Steve Baker and Priti Patel, have signed a motion that calls for the government to seek to agree preferential trade arrangements with the EU, in case the UK is unable to implement a withdrawal agreement with the bloc.

Contingent reciprocal arrangements

A similar group of Tory MPs have backed a proposal calling for the government to “at least reciprocate the arrangements put in place by the EU and or its member states to manage the period following the UK’s departure from the EU”, in case the UK is unable to implement a withdrawal agreement.

Respect the referendum results

A cross-party proposal, signed by 94 MPs including the Conservatives’ Will Quince, Labour’s Frank Field and the DUP’s Nigel Dodds, urges the house to “reaffirm its commitment to honour the result of the referendum that the UK should leave the European Union”.

Constitutional and accountable government

Tabled by Sir Bill Cash and other Tory Brexiters, this backs leaving the EU, rejects the government’s withdrawal agreement and proposes changing Commons standing orders so that a two-thirds majority would be needed to allow any fresh attempt to allow indicative votes debates to take precedence over government business on any given day.

Updated

MPs to vote on alternative plans as speculation mounts May could announce decision to quit

Good morning. We are two days before the date originally set for the UK’s departure from the EU and in the Commons they have gone back to the drawing board, holding a debate and votes on up to 16 alternative Brexit plans. And 7% of people still think the government is handling this process well.

Here is our overnight preview story.

And here are the main developments this morning.

  • Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, has said the government hopes to be able to hold a third vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal later this week. In an interview on the Today programme she said:

I think that there is a real possibility that it does. We are completely determined to make sure that we can get enough support to bring it back.

  • Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, has said that Labour could have difficulty backing a plan for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit agreement. The amendment was originally drawn up by the Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, but is on today’s order paper with Dame Margaret Beckett as the lead signatory. In an interview on the Today programme, Gardiner said that if Labour voted for it, that could suggest it was a remain party, which was not the case. He said, under the terms of the motion, a referendum could be a choice between May’s deal or staying in the EU. He went on:

It would be saying we could accept what we have always said is a very bad deal. Therefore it looks as if the attempt to have a public vote on it is simply a way of trying to remain because nobody likes this deal.

To put that up as the only alternative in a public vote and say we will let it go through looks as though you believe that at the end of it remain would be the result.

It is not where our policy has been. Our policy is clearly that we would support a public vote to stop no-deal or to stop a bad deal, but not that we would allow a bad deal as long as the public had the opportunity to reject Brexit altogether.

That implies that you are a remain party. The Labour party is not a remain party now. We have accepted the result of the referendum.

But earlier Peter Kyle told the same programme that Jeremy Corbyn would order Labour MPs to back the Beckett amendment. He said:

[Corbyn] will order MPs to vote for this. We had a really constructive process of engaging with him. At no point was he instinctively against this.

  • Sir Oliver Letwin, the Conservative MP who tabled the amendment that set up today’s indicative votes process, said that if the government ignored the plan backed by most MPs, the Commons could legislate to force it to respond. He said that he did not expect there to be a majority for any one idea today, but that on Monday, when there is due to be another indicative votes debate, MPs could unite behind one plan. He went on:

If on Monday one or more propositions get a majority backing in the House of Commons, then we will have to work with the government to implement them.

The way I would hope it would happen under those circumstances is that we would have sensible, workmanlike discussions across the House of Commons and the government would move forward in an orderly fashion.

If the government didn’t agree to that, then those who I am working with across the parties will move to legislate to mandate the government - if we can obtain majorities in the House of Commons and House of Lords for that - to carry that forward.

  • Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, has said the almost 6 million people who have signed the revoke article 50 petition should not be ignored. Speaking in a debate in the European parliament, he criticised those who say it would be unacceptable for the UK to have a long article 50 extension because it would have to hold European elections. He explained:

Let me be clear, such thinking is unacceptable.

You cannot betray the six million people who signed the petition to revoke article 50, the one million people who marched for a people’s vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union.

They may feel that they are not sufficiently represented by their UK parliament, but they must feel that they are represented by you in this chamber because they are Europeans.

This government will not revoke article 50. We will honour the result of the 2016 referendum and work with parliament to deliver a deal that ensures we leave the European Union.

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leading Tory Brexiter and chair of the European Research Group, has used an article in the Daily Mail to apologise to his supporters for changing his mind on May’s Brexit deal. He is now ready to vote for it, he says, if the DUP backs it too, because the alternative could be a long delay to Brexit, leading to the UK staying in the EU.

Wednesday’s Daily Mail: "Mogg: Sorry, I WILL back May's deal" (via @AllieHBNews) #bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday #Brexit pic.twitter.com/RRpogPYZ45

— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 26, 2019

Another leading Brexiter, Boris Johnson, has also signalled he will vote for the deal. In a speech last night, reprinted on the Telegraph’s front page (paywall), he said:

If we vote for the PM’s lamentable withdrawal agreement we are skewered. We run the risk of either weakening the union, or else being forced to remain effectively part of the single market and customs union. But if we vote it down again there is now I think an appreciable risk that we will not leave at all.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland secretary, gives evidence to the Northern Ireland affairs committee.

9.30am: The People’s Vote campaign holds a press conference.

10.30am: Michael Gove, the environment secretary, gives evidence to the Commons environment committee on Brexit.

12pm: Theresa May faces Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs.

After 1pm: MPs begin debating the business motion for today’s indicative votes debate.

After 3pm: MPs begin the indicative votes debate.

5pm: May addresses the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee.

7pm: MPs vote on the indicative votes options.

7.30pm: MPs debate the statutory instrument changing the date of Brexit set out in the EU Withdrawal Act.

Around 9.15pm: John Bercow, the speaker, announces the results of the indicative votes ballot.

Today I will be focusing exclusively on Brexit, and on the debate, and I will be bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web.

You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here. Here is the Politico Europe round-up of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.

If you want to follow me or contact me on Twitter, I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

I try to monitor the comments BTL but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply ATL, although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter.

Updated

Contributors

Andrew Sparrow (earlier), Jedidajah Otte (later)

The GuardianTramp

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