MPs have rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans by an emphatic 432 votes to 202 in a historic vote which has thrown the future of her administration and the nature of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union into doubt.

The humiliating rebuff was delivered in the House of Commons just moments after Mrs May made a last-ditch appeal for MPs to back the Withdrawal Agreement which she sealed with Brussels in November after almost two years of negotiation.

The 230-vote margin of defeat was by far the worst suffered by a British government in a meaningful division since at least the First World War and in normal circumstances would be enough to force a prime minister from office.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn then called for a motion of no confidence in the government. It will be debated tomorrow.

But there was little doubt in Westminster that Mrs May would hang on and was likely to survive the motion of no-confidence.

Mrs May now has until 21 January to set out a Plan B - expected to involve going back to Brussels to seek further concessions, with the clock ticking on the scheduled date of Brexit in just 73 days' time on 29 March.

Following the vote, Mrs May said: "The house has spoken and the government will listen."

She offered cross-party talks with MPs across the house to determine a way forward.

Chancellor Philip Hammond voiced his support for the prime minister on Twitter, saying he supported her efforts to "build a political consensus to deliver a negotiated Brexit deal". 

Mr Corbyn told the House of Commons that Mrs May's "catastrophic" defeat represented an "absolutely decisive" verdict on her Brexit negotiations.

Moments before the crunch vote, Mrs May said: "Parliament gave the people a choice, we set the clock ticking on our departure and tonight we will determine whether we move forward with a Withdrawal Agreement that honours the vote and sets us on course for a better future.

"The responsibility of each and every one of us at this moment is profound, for this is a historic decision that will set the future of our country for generations."

The Labour leader called on MPs to vote down the agreement, saying: "This deal is bad for our economy, a bad deal for our democracy, and a bad deal for this country."

As MPs voted, noisy crowds of pro and anti-Brexit protesters in Parliament Square could be heard inside the Palace of Westminster.

MPs had been due to vote first on a series of four amendments chosen by House Speaker John Bercow.

But Mr Corbyn, Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford and Tory backbencher Edward Leigh opted not to move their amendments, leaving only one division.

In that vote, a proposal from Conservative MP John Baron for the UK to take unilateral powers to end controversial "backstop" arrangements was rejected by 600 votes to 24.

Here, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the Government today progressed its plans for a no-deal Brexit in the areas of transport and medicines.


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