The Prime Minister dodged a string of Remainer attempts to seize control of Brexit, including a bid to force a second referendum. In dramatic scenes, Mrs May’s motion to extend Article 50 was passed by 412 votes to 202, a majority of 210. The Prime Minister must now ask the 27 remaining EU member states for a delay to Brexit beyond March 29 at next week’s Brussels summit.
Tonight’s victory has paved the way for the Prime Minister to bring her divorce deal back to the Commons for a third vote before the EU summit.
It comes after MPs rejected it by 149 votes earlier this week, down from the 230 who blocked in it January.
If she gets it over the line on her third attempt, Mrs May will request a short delay to Brexit until June 30 to allow time to push through legislation.
But if her deal is once again defeated, a longer extension will be required and the UK will have to take part in the European Parliament elections.
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said that if this was the case, MPs would hold debates to work out a majority for a different plan.
The Prime Minister has warned against a long delay to Brexit, saying: “I do not think that would be the right outcome. But the House needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken.”
European Council president Donald Tusk indicated that the EU could offer the UK a long extension if it wants to “rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it”.
But any delay must be approved unanimously by the remaining member states.
In a string of votes this evening, a bid by the new Independent Group of breakaway Labour and Tory MPs to secure a second referendum was defeated by 334 votes to 85.
MPs also voted down a cross-party attempt to seize control of the Brexit process.
The amendment to hold a set of indicative votes to establish what kind of Brexit Parliament supports was rejected by 314 to 312.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also suffered a blow when his amendment demanding an extension to Article 50 to buy time to “find a majority for a different approach” was voted down.