Data compiled by Sky, collating the publicly-declared intentions of Members of Parliament, has predicted that the Prime Minister will lose tonight’s vote on her Brexit withdrawal bill by a record-breaking margin of more than 200 votes – a result which would consign Theresa May to the history books as suffering the biggest defeat of any sitting UK government in history.
The Sky News Politics research, which is based on how MPs have publicly declared they will vote tonight, shows that 199 MPs have announced they will vote in favour of the bill.
In contrast, a staggering 425 members of Parliament have declared that they will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit bill in the House of Commons this evening, whilst just 15 MPs are said to be undecided.
The research also takes into account the views of MPs who have changed their minds, such as Labour MP Kevin Barron, who yesterday declared that he would vote against his own party to support the Prime Minister’s deal.
Only a tiny number of Labour MPs are predicted to vote in favour of the deal, whilst more than 100 Tory MPs have publicly declared they will vote against their own party line.
As the final Brexit deal debate kicks off, and with just over six hours until the vote, this is the challenge facing Theresa May.
Declared voting intentions, as held by @SkyNewsPolitics:
AGAINST – 425
FOR – 199
UNKNOWN – 15 pic.twitter.com/SJydLd3zpu
— Aubrey Allegretti (@breeallegretti) January 15, 2019
Currently, the biggest defeat for any sitting UK government was in 1924, when the then Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald lost by 364 votes to 198 – a margin of 166 – on an amendment put forward by the Liberal Party.
The Liberal’s amendment proposed initiating an investigation into the government’s decision to drop criminal proceedings against JR Campbell, the editor of the Communist newspaper the Worker’s Weekly, after the paper published an article encouraging the armed forces to mutiny.
Macdonald also holds the record for the second biggest Commons defeat in history, having also suffered a crushing defeat on his 1924 Housing Bill by a margin of 140 votes in the same year.
Since 1924, no government has suffered a defeat in the House of Commons by more than 100 votes, with Jim Callaghan’s minority government holding 3rd, 4th and 5th place in the list, having suffered an 89-vote loss on his 1979 Firearms bill, an 86-vote loss on the Scotland devolution bill, and a defeat by 72 votes on his 1978 Wales bill.
If Theresa May’s Brexit bill is defeated tonight by a margin of more than 166 votes – as Sky’s data predicts – her name will be consigned to the history books as overseeing the biggest government defeat in the House of Commons ever.
Following Ramsay MacDonald’s 166-vote defeat, he dissolved Parliament and called a General Election.
Furthermore, Jim Callaghan’s crushing 1979 defeat came just six days before his minority government fell to a Parliamentary Vote of No Confidence.
Therefore, should Theresa May suffer such a catastrophic defeat as is being predicted, historical precedent shows that she should either resign, or, failing this, her humiliated minority government will surely be forced out of office in the very near future.
Despite this, sources indicate that Theresa May had already told her Cabinet this morning that she would “push on with her Brexit deal” whatever the size of today’s defeat.