How the papers covered it
Full text of Boris Johnson’s statement
The 21 Tory MPs who voted with opposition for bill to rule out no deal
Corbyn says Labour will not back early election motion unless bill ruling out no-deal passed first
Boris Johnson says he is tabling motion for general election because he will not accept Benn bill
MPs back move to allow bill to block no-deal Brexit by majority of 27
Thornberry says Labour will not vote for general election until bill ruling out no-deal Brexit becomes law
We’re going to call it a night. Thanks so much for following along all the twists and turns of today’s news.
I’ll be back in about three hours with a fresh blog. Rest up, see you then!
at 2.20am EDT
- Boris Johnson said he would ask MPs to support plans for a snap general election after he lost his first Common vote as prime minister. Nearly two dozen Tory MPs voted with the opposition to allow a debate on a Bill that would block a no-deal Brexit. Johnson needs a two-thirds Commons majority to call an early general election.
- After the vote, the rebel Tory MPs were told the whip had been withdrawn. The 21 MPs, whose number included several former government ministers, were effectively thrown out of the party, meaning Johnson lost his Commons majority – as well as the vote. They had also been threatened with deselection and some said they would not seek reelection, though Philip Hammond was not among them.
- Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would not back Johnson’s moves for an early election until a no-deal Brexit was taken off the table. He was backed by the Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, and other opposition parties. Steve Baker, the new chair of the hard Brexit-backing Tory backbench ERG, said his party should agree a pact with the Brexit party in the event of an election.
- A motion was tabled to ensure the anti-no-deal Bill can be rushed through Parliament this week. There are no time limits on debates in the Lords. But the Labour leader in that house tabled a motion that would ensure all stages must be completed by 5pm on Friday.
- Before the vote, the Philip Lee defected from the Tories to the Lib Dems. He said the Conservatives government was “aggressively pursuing a damaging Brexit in unprincipled ways”.
- Boris Johnson wants to wants to provoke a no-deal Brexit and then blame the EU for it during a general election, according to Ken Clarke. The former Tory grandee set out what he believed to be the prime minister’s strategy after reports that Johnson’s senior aide, Dominic Cummings, believes the negotiations with the EU to be a “sham”.
- An autumn general election would be a “fantastic opportunity” for Scots to demand a second vote on independence, according to the SNP’s Westminster leader. Ian Blackford said Scottish voters would be able to send a message by returning SNP MPs in any such election.
Still scratching your head about what happened today? Or arriving at this blog from a non-UK timezone and need some catching up?
I’ve written a very basic explainer of what happened today, addressing questions like:
What just happened?
Boris Johnson has just lost a very significant vote in parliament, which has allowed MPs to seize control of the parliamentary timetable. It paves the way to introduce a bill that is designed to block a no-deal Brexit by forcing the prime minister to request an extension if he cannot strike a reworked divorce agreement with the rest of the EU.
Johnson threatened his MPs ahead of Tuesday that they should vote with him or face the penalty of having the “whip” withdrawn. Despite this threat, Johnson lost the vote. The rebel MPs and opposition parties won by 328 to 301.
What does it mean to ‘withdraw the whip’?
An arcane and slightly disturbing expression, in political-speak “withdrawing the whip” from someone effectively means booting them out of the party, without them immediately losing their seat.
An MP who has the whip withdrawn sits as an independent, but can be brought back into the party fold if it decides to restore the whip. Having the whip withdrawn is one of the most serious disciplinary actions that can be taken against an MP by a party. In this case it may mean they are barred from standing for the Tories in the next election.
What happens next?
Boris Johnson has announced he will ask parliament to allow a snap general election, which would be held on 15 October. The date of 14 October had been floated, but was deemed inappropriate as it is the Jewish holiday Sukkot.
Johnson has said that even if the rebels’ vote passes on Wednesday he will never request an extension beyond 31 October from the EU, and “the people of this country will have to choose” in an election. However, the prime minister needs a two-thirds majority to secure an early general election under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. Which means Labour can block it – and Jeremy Corbyn quickly made clear his party would not vote for an election unless and until the anti-no-deal bill has passed.
There is talk that if things reach a stalemate, it could result in a motion of no confidence in Johnson, but the prospects of that remain unclear.
How the papers covered it
Taking votes for best slouching Jacob Rees-Mogg tweet.
Sam Coates of Sky News has shared a Whatsapp message forwarded to him from the administrator of a Whatsapp group for Conservative MPs, asking those who have had the whip removed to remove themselves from the group.
Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, who seems to be having a lot of fun on Twitter tonight, has shared the tweet, saying that such a move is “#basic“. Brutal.
Good evening, this is Kate Lyons returning to the helm of this blog that I kicked off in the wee hours this morning and what a day it’s been in between.
As the dust settles and everyone tries to work out where we go from here, some MPs – many of whom are facing a future, or at least a present, outside the Conservative party – are trying to see the light side. Including Ed Vaizey, who has delivered one of the night’s great tweets.
People are also thoroughly enjoying this picture of Theresa May thoroughly enjoying her drive home, with not a hint of smugness or schadenfreude on her completely loyal face.
As British readers absorb the latest ructions in Westminster – whether the ousting of Tory grandees or Jacob Rees-Mogg’s apparently laid-back approach to Commons debates – we would like to hear from readers outside the UK about how their media view the latest developments.
Please send any front pages, comment pieces and editorial approaches that you feel are of note to G_J_Russell.
The argument that Boris Johnson is genuinely trying to strike a deal with the EU is “absurd”, according to the former Conservative minister, Ken Clarke, who has told Newsnight:
He’s obviously not trying to get a deal. I’m sure he’d prefer one if he thought he could get one past his right-wing supporters but he’s dug himself in. He assumes he’s going to get no deal because he can’t get the right wing of the Conservative party, many of them now stuck in his cabinet, to agree to it.
Referring to the state of the party, Clarke added:
It’s been taken over by a rather knockabout sort of character, who’s got this bizarre crash-it-through philosophy … a cabinet which is the most right-wing cabinet any Conservative party has ever produced.
They’re not in control of events. The prime minister comes and talks total rubbish to us and is planning to hold a quick election and get out, blaming Parliament and Europe for the shambles.
I have to decide whether to vote Conservative if Boris Johnson is still the leader. That’s my next problem. I am a conservative, of course I am … but this leader, I don’t recognise this. It’s the Brexit party, rebadged.
at 7.02pm EDT
More reaction from MPs to tonight’s vote is coming in. The former Tory minister, David Gauke, voted against the government
The chairman of the Conservative party, James Cleverly, tweeted:
Richard Burgon, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, has told the BBC’s Newsnight programme:
We want a general election as soon as possible, as soon as it is legally bolted down that Boris Johnson can’t use any tricks or ruses to lead people to believe there is going to be a general election before we have left with a no-deal Brexit but then change his tune and leave with a no-deal Brexit.
And Joanna Cherry, the Scottish National Party MP, made similar comments on the same programme:
We want a general election as soon as possible once this bill goes through. We don’t fear a general election. We are not necessarily going to let Boris Johnson have it on his terms. We are anxious that this legislation we have worked so hard, cross party to back, goes through first to prevent a no-deal Brexit.”
Theresa May, whose premiership was wrecked by Brexit, has been photographed leaving Parliament after her successor, Boris Johnson, suffered defeat in his very first Commons vote.
Rory Stewart, initially appeared to confirm he would not stand as an MP at any upcoming general election after rebelling against the government tonight. Speaking at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in London, he said:
Politics is at an all-time low at the moment all over the world and it is great you continue to take an interest in it. We have a lot of work to do to regain anybody’s trust.
But I want to finish by saying this is a pretty special evening in many ways because, when I voted against the government this evening, I heard that my whip has been removed.
It’s likely tomorrow that there’s going to be an election and I’m not going to be able to stand as the member of Parliament because Boris [Johnson] has decided he doesn’t want me in the party.
I am very proud to take the award as politician of the year on the evening which I cease to be a politician.
However, Stewart later clarified that he had been joking about leaving politics:
Guto Bebb also voted against the government and is now believed to have had the whip withdrawn. He told the BBC:
It is frankly rather hypocritical of a prime minister who constantly voted against the previous Conservative prime minister in taking this action against people who voted against him.
None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for the way in which No 10 and the prime minister have handled this whole issue.
That decision to prorogue parliament on the advice of Dominic Cummings has misfired spectacularly.
Another of those to rebel was Anne Milton, who wrote to her constituents to explain her decision:
at 6.34pm EDT
The mayor of London and avowed remain supporter, Sadiq Khan, has described tonight’s vote as a “first step towards stopping Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit”.
However, we are not over the line yet. It is now absolutely vital that this Bill is passed by both Houses, and that Boris Johnson ensures it receives Royal assent and then agrees to abide by it.
Those of us who agree that Brexit is a total disaster for the future of London and our country simply must keep the pressure up this week.
Sir Nicholas Soames, the Tory former minister, has told Newsnight that he will stand down at the next election. Soames, 71, whose grandfather was Winston Churchill, is losing the whip because he voted against the government tonight.
That’s all from me tonight. My colleague Kevin Rawlinson is now taking over.
This is from a source close to the rebel Tories.
Tonight’s decisive result is the first step in a process to avert an undemocratic and damaging no deal. No 10 have responded by removing the whip from two former chancellors, a former lord chancellor and Winston Churchill’s grandson. What has has happened to the Conservative party?
Mark Spencer, the chief whip, has been ringing the Tory rebels telling them they are having the whip withdrawn, we’ve been told. Philip Hammond, the former chancellor, has already had the call. As of now, he is technically no longer a Conservative MP.
And here is the full text of what Jeremy Corbyn said in the chamber after the vote.
I welcome tonight’s vote. We live in a parliamentary democracy, we do not have a presidency but a prime minister.
Prime ministers govern with the consent of the House of Commons, representing the people in whom the sovereignty rests.
There is no consent in this house to leave the European Union without a deal. There is no majority for no deal in the country.
As I have said before: if the prime minister has confidence in his Brexit policy – when he has one he can put forward – he should put it before the people in a public vote.
And so, he wants to table a motion for a general election, fine get the bill through first in order to take no-deal off the table.
Full text of Boris Johnson’s statement
Here is the full text of Boris Johnson‘s statement after the result was announced.
Let there be no doubt about the consequences of this vote tonight.
It means that parliament is on the brink of wrecking any deal we might be able to strike in Brussels.
Because tomorrow’s bill would hand control of the negotiations to the EU.
And that would mean more dither, more delay, more confusion.
And it would mean that the EU themselves would be able decide how long to keep this country in the EU.
And since I refuse to go along with that plan we are going to have to make a choice. I don’t want an election. The public don’t want an election. But if the House votes for this bill tomorrow, the public will have to choose who goes to Brussels on October 17 to sort this out and take this country forward.
Everyone will know if the Rt Hon Gentleman is the prime minister, he will go to Brussels, he will beg for an extension, you will accept whatever Brussels demands and we’ll have years more arguments over Brexit.
And by contrast, everyone will know that if I am prime minister, I will go to Brussels, I will go for a deal and get a deal but if they won’t do a deal we will leave anyway on 31 October.
The people of this country will have to choose.
The leader of the Opposition has been begging for an election for two years.
I don’t want an election but if MPs vote tomorrow to stop the negotiations and to compel another pointless delay of Brexit, potentially for years, then that will be the only way to resolve this.
I can confirm that tonight we will are tabling a motion under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.