The Brexit secretary spent 10 mins backing an extension to Article 50 then voted against it

On Thursday night, MPs voted on two very important amendments that would have huge ramifications on Brexit.

Whereas an amendment to hold a second referendum on the UK’s membership to the European Union was defeated by 249 votes, an agreement to seek an extension of Article 50 was passed.

The extension was passed by 412 votes to 202, with 188 Tory MPs voting against the motion, with one of those being the actual Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay.

AS reported ” Theresa May has repeatedly warned MPs that a second referendum on the terms of Brexit would threaten “the public’s fragile trust in democracy.”

Yet less than an hour after telling MPs it was in the “national interest” to push back the date of Britain’s departure from Europe, her top Brexit minister walked through the voting lobbies to oppose the move.

And it wasn’t even against the rules.

Closing his speech to the House of Commons, Barclay: “It is time for this house to act in the national interest.

“It’s time to put forward an extension that is realistic.

“I commend the motion put forward by the government to the house.”

MPs voted 413-202 for the motion, which the PM was forced to lay after MPs rejected both her deal and No Deal this week.

But she granted her MPs a free vote.

Asked about Mr Barclay’s decision to urge MPs to vote for a motion second before he voted against it, the PM’s spokesman said: “It was a free vote that the PM authorised.”

So even though Mr Barclay was contradicting his own speech with his actions, he didn’t break any rules and won’t face disciplinary action.

The motion makes the UK ask the EU for a delay no matter what, but the length depends on whether MPs back the Brexit deal in a third vote next week.

If Mrs May can persuade Tory Brexiteers and the DUP to finally back her, by threatening a huge delay and offering legal tweaks, then she will ask the EU for a delay until June 30.

If she cannot agree a deal by next Wednesday, she will go to meet 27 EU leaders at a summit and Thursday and ask for a longer extension.

Theresa May’s deputy David Lidington told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was a free vote in that division yesterday.

“Now, what happens this morning is that the entire Cabinet has accepted the position that Parliament voted for last night.

“I’ve been working very constructively with Steve Barclay since his appointment a couple of months ago despite the fact that he and I were vigorously on opposite sides of the debate during the referendum, and we are continuing to work very constructively together today and in the days to come.”

Mr Lidington said he believed that Leave-backing ministers had used the free vote as “an opportunity to register how unhappy they were with being in the position where we don’t really have an option as a country except to seek an extension of our time in the European Union”.

Mr Lidington said that leaving on March 29 with no deal remains the “legal default position” but the likelihood of it happening had “diminished” after this week’s votes.

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