“This amendment instead upends the balance between our democratic institutions
The statement was released after MPs voted to seize control of the House of Commons agenda and force a series of “indicative” votes on Brexit options. The Brexit outcomes to be considered will include revoking Article 50, holding a second EU membership referendum and a softer exit that would see the UK remain within the customs union. Theresa May’s administration was defeated by 329 votes to 302, with three junior ministers resigning to vote against the Government.
Non-binding votes on the possible Brexit options will take place on Wednesday.
In a statement the Government responded: “It is disappointing to see this amendment pass, as the Government made a clear commitment to provide a process to find a majority in Parliament for a way forward this week.
“This amendment instead upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future.
“While it is now up to Parliament to set out next steps in respect of this amendment, the Government will continue to call for realism - any options considered must be delivered in negotiations with the EU.
In total 29 Conservatives MPs rebelled against the Government to support the amendment
In total 29 Conservatives MPs rebelled against the Government to support the amendment, which was tabled by former Tory minister Oliver Letwin.
Foreign office minister Alistair Burt, business minister Richard Harrington and health minister Steve Brine all resigned from the Government to back the proposal.
Parliament may well vote to keep the UK in a permanent customs union with the EU, which is official Labour Party policy and backed by some Conservative backbenchers.
This would be a softer form of Brexit that outlined in Mrs May’s deal, and Britain would struggle to sign comprehensive trade agreements with third countries under this relationship.
Hundreds of thousands of anti-Brexit protestors marched through London on Saturday
Mrs May could theoretically ignore the outcome of the upcoming Parliamentary votes on Brexit options, but doing so would be politically controversial.
Addressing the Commons she said: “No Government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is.
“So I cannot commit the Government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this house.
“But I do commit to engaging constructively with this process.”
Mrs May scrapped plans for a third meaningful vote on her Brexit deal this week, admitting it does not have the support to pass Parliament.