A Labour source said they expected no further “ping pong” between the Lords and the Commons when the bill returns to the upper house tonight. They expect proceedings to be wrapped up by 8pm, probably without a vote.
There was some quite heavy briefing this morning that Labour Eurosceptics and Labour MPs with leave-leaning seats could be the ones to deliver the government victory tonight, by rebelling against their party and voting against the amendment.
Labour whips say they are pleased tonight that only four Labour MPs did so, all of them long-standing Brexiters. I’m told Denis Skinner, a fervent Eurosceptic but a long-standing friend and ally of Jeremy Corbyn, helped carry many waverers over the line.
But Labour are clearly frustrated that a win was possible but Grieve’s concession meant it was denied.
“Tory MPs had a chance to deliver a truly meaningful vote,” a source said. “Labour MPs remained united – including some being taken through the voting lobbies in wheelchairs – but the so-called Tory rebels lost the courage of their convictions and gave licence for a no deal Brexit.”
There were some unedifying scenes in the Commons today as some sick and some heavily pregnant MPs had to go through the lobbies. My colleague Peter Walker has these details.
One of the effects of both the vote and the decision of the government to not allow MPs’ votes to be counted merely by their presence in parliament saw curious scenes in the corridor adjoining the lobby outside the Commons.
Labour MP Naz Shah was taken through in a wheelchair – she has been in hospital with severe back pain – while Laura Pidcock, her heavily-pregnant colleague, walked out from the vote and was helped away in another wheelchair.
Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem deputy leader, who is two days past her birth due date, managed the walk unaided.
The complications come from the fact that while MPs can be “paired” – if they are absent an opposing MP will also not vote – there is not as yet a system for proxy votes, something the Labour MP Harriet Harman has been campaigning for.
There is quite a bit of anger about this from pundits and MPs.
Naz Shah is wheeled out of the chamber after voting. Usual convention re sick MPs being ”nodded through” has been scrapped today, and it’s really not a good look. pic.twitter.com/ZSfAATPKrd
June 20, 2018
the MP spotted by @elliotttimes being helped out of car was Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, who’s been in hospital the last three days. She was meant to drop in for 10 minutes in the car park, but Tories are refusing to “nod through” her vote. She’ll have to stay THREE HOURS…
June 20, 2018