Conservative MPs have joined forces with Labour to inflict a fresh blow on Theresa May’s government in a Commons Brexit vote.
It means the government will have to return to Parliament with fresh plans within three days if Mrs May EU withdrawal deal is rejected by MPs next week.
The government lost by 11 votes, with 297 MPs voting with them and 308 against.
The government’s decision to delay the meaningful vote has run down the clock and increased the risk of a no deal Brexit.
This means if the prime minister’s Brexit deal is defeated next week, she must return to parliament as soon as possible and give MPs a real say on what happens next. Which could also open the door to alternatives, such as a referendum.
Before, the prime minister had 21 calendar days to come back to parliament to present her next steps, now it will be within three sitting days in parliament.
It comes ahead of five days of debate on the PM’s Brexit deal.
There was also controversy involving the commons Speaker John Bercow faced an angry backlash from some Conservative MPs over his decision to allow MPs to vote on the issue.
Downing Street says the government would “seek to provide certainty quickly”.