Theresa May survives the no confidence vote by 9 (BBC): Labour’s attempt to trigger a general election failed as the no-confidence motion was defeated by 325 votes to 306. May invited the leaders of the other parties for talks on the Brexit deal. These discussions have started this evening, starting with the SNP Westminster leader who is currently in talks with the PM. Without the DUP’s support (i.e. their 10 votes), Theresa May would have lost by one vote. Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn commented that last night the House rejected the government’s Brexit deal and a week ago voted to condemn the idea of a no-deal Brexit and asked that before talks can go ahead with the prime minister, the government remove the prospect of a no-deal Brexit from the table.
UK Parliament Brexit Committee published a report outlining four Brexit options (MLex): The options are (i) another vote on the draft Withdrawal Agreement; (ii) renegotiations to achieve specific outcomes such as changes on the backstop arrangements, a Canada-style deal, or joining the EEA and remaining in a customs union (which is acknowledged to rely on consent from the EU and an extension of article 50); (iii) leaving the EU with no deal; or (iv) a second referendum. (Full report here)
71 MPs declare support for second Brexit referendum, including 6 Labour MPs (Guardian):The timing of the demand, a couple of hours before Jeremy Corbyn was due to open the no-confidence debate, irritated the party’s leadership, who said afterwards that another national poll was “not the default option” if the Commons vote was lost. Labour’s repeatedly stated policy was to press for an election after May’s deal had been voted down, but then to consider a second referendum as an option if no election could be secured. But in his speeches in Tuesday night’s Brexit debate, Corbyn made no reference to a second referendum and his spokesman said the party would consider demanding more than a confidence vote before accepting that it could not force a general election. The organisers of the letter said there were a further 24 Labour MPs who supported a second referendum who had not signed the statement for administrative reasons, or because their position was already well known.
No 10 rules out customs union before cross-party talks began (Guardian):Downing Street flatly ruled out customs union membership, before the cross-party Brexit talks Theresa May promised on Tuesday night had even begun. But the Labour frontbench position is for a permanent customs union, as is that of Conservative backers of a Norway-style Brexit deal, making it unlikely talks with either group would get off the ground if May stands by that red line.
EU indicates it could accept a delay to Brexit — with conditions (FT): Previously, the consensus among EU governments was they would only contemplate pushing out the March 29 Article 50 deadline to allow for a UK general election or another referendum. Now, some European politicians, particularly in France and Germany, have adopted a more accommodating tone on giving the UK time to craft a deal that could command a parliamentary majority. But France is keen to avoid any extra time being seen by the UK as an opportunity to extract more concessions and the German government itself wants more clarity from London first on next possible steps to avoid a no-deal scenario.
Ireland’s Leo Varadkar rejects time limit on Irish backstop (FT): Leo Varadkar has insisted he will not accept a time limit on the Irish border “backstop” after Theresa May’s Brexit deal defeat, in a sign that Dublin will seek to ride out any pressure to dilute measures to prevent a hard border in Ireland.
City chiefs call for Brexit delay after PM’s deal is rejected (FT): Expressing their dismay at the mess caused by the rejection of Theresa May’s agreement on Tuesday night, members of the FT City Network — a panel of more than 50 top executives — stepped up their pressure for the Article 50 trigger to be revoked and another referendum staged.
Airbus may accelerate preparations for no-deal Brexit (FT): Tom Enders, chief executive of Airbus, said the company “may accelerate” its plans for a no-deal Brexit in light of the landmark rejection on Tuesday by Britain’s parliament of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. Airbus had been “represented” on a conference call on Tuesday night with Britain’s chancellor, Philip Hammond, who had sought to reassure business leaders. On the call, Mr Hammond also raised for the first time the possibility of a delay to Article 50 under which Britain will currently leave the EU on 29 March.