Scale of Theresa May’s defeat in parliament surprises Dublin

Article 50 process likely to be paused to allow parliament give its view and EU to respond

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tables a motion of no confidence in the UK government as Theresa May's Brexit deal is defeated by 230 votes in the House of Commons.

The scale of Theresa May’s defeat in the House of Commons last night surprised Dublin, and was a deeply unwelcome development for the Government, which said it raised the prospect of a disorderly Brexit in less than 10 weeks. The Government’s own no-deal plans, discussed again by the Cabinet yesterday, are coming under increasing scrutiny. That is certain to intensify now.

The result heightens the uncertainty as the Brexit date approaches and will likely lead to pressure on the backstop – by most readings the single biggest reason for the massive Tory rebellion which humiliated Mrs May last night. Earlier this week, Simon Coveney warned that Ireland would have to “hold its nerve”. He repeated the thought yesterday. Clearly, Mr Coveney is expecting pressure from somewhere.

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