British MPs have fired a warning shot across the government’s bows as they backed an amendment intended to limit ministers’ tax raising powers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The Commons voted by 303 to 296 – a majority of seven – in favour of the cross-party amendment to the Finance Bill tabled by senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Conservative former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan.
Twenty Tory rebels MPs defied the whips to back the change – including former ministers Kenneth Clarke, Michael Fallon, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve and Sam Gyimah.
Ahead of the division, ministers sought to play down the significance of the amendment, insisting it made only the “most minor and technical changes” to the legislation.
Downing Street described it as an “inconvenience” which would not prevent the government collecting taxes.
But as the Commons prepared to resume the debate on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, leading to a crunch vote next week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was an “important step” towards preventing a no-deal break with Brussels.
“It shows that there is no majority in Parliament, the Cabinet or the country for crashing out of the EU without an agreement,” he said.
That is why we are taking every opportunity possible in Parliament to prevent no deal. Theresa May must now rule out no deal once and for all.”