The Government suffered a humiliating defeat after rebel Tories joined with Labour to vote to keep medicines flowing freely between the UK and EU after Brexit.
The Government the key Trade Bill vote after MPs supported a Tory backbench amendment.
MPs voted 305 to 301 to keep the UK as a member of the European Medicines Agency.
Of those 12 were Tory Remain rebels.
Remainer Dr Philip Lee, who resigned from the Government over Brexit, put forward the motion which the rebels had not expected to pass.
It suggested the Government would struggle to pass the other Remain-backed clause on staying in the customs union.
But instead Theresa May squeaked home with just six votes – four of which were Brexiteer Labour MPs.
The amendment, which was put forward by two Tory Remainers, was rejected by 307 votes to 301.
Stephen Hammond, one of those who tabled the amendment had earlier rejected calls from the Government to compromise and withdraw the clause.
Instead he forced a vote on clause 18 which says Britain would be forced to join a customs union with the EU if no agreement were reached on frictionless trade by the time we leave.
After the 12 Remain Tory rebels were joined by Labour and the other opposition parties the vote was close.
But the Government squeaked through after four Labour rebels – Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer- voted with Theresa May.
Commenting on the defeat of the Prime Minister, on the European Medicines Agency only the second time on Brexit legislation, Best for Britain champion and Labour MP Owen Smith said: "The votes of the last few days have exposed the full horror of the Tory civil war but have also shown that it is the hardline Brexiteers who are winning it.
"Theresa May’s Chequers plan is now in tatters as the PM capitulated to the hardline Brexiteers at every turn leaving the country at the mercy of the small group who want the hardest of Brexits, wrecking jobs and livelihoods for a generation to come.
"Added to today’s confirmation that Vote Leave lies and cheated their way to victory, today’s coup by the ERG makes the case for a final vote on what seems certain now to be a hard Brexit completely unanswerable."
A Government spokesperson said: “As set out in the White Paper, the UK is seeking participation in the European Medicines Agency. We would look to be an active participant and this would involve making an appropriate financial contribution. We will now reflect on this amendment and seek to revisit in the Lords.”
Source: Read Full Article