Cross-party MPs have hit out at the “utter chaos” of the Government after a vote to take a no-deal Brexit off the table.
MPs voted to reject crashing out of the European Union without a deal “under any circumstance.”
Mrs May was defeated by 321 votes to 278, a margin of 43, on a motion to rule out a no-deal Brexit at any time and under any circumstance.
Work and pensions secretary Sarah Newton quit after defying the whips to vote for the cross-party proposal.
Speaking moments after her second significant Brexit defeat in the same number of days, Mrs May accepted that there was a “clear majority” against no-deal in the Commons.
But she insisted that despite the vote – which is not legally binding – no-deal remains the default option in UK and EU law unless a Withdrawal Agreement is reached.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded that Mrs May had repeatedly offered a choice between her deal and no deal, adding: “In the last 24 hours, Parliament has decisively rejected both.”
Mr Corbyn said: “Parliament must now take control of the situation. Myself, the shadow Brexit secretary and others will have meetings with members across the House to find a compromise solution that can command support in the House.”
MP for Streatham Chuka Umunna said Westminster was “broken”.
Speaking to Sky News, the Independent Group MP said: “The Conservative Party has essentially become the no-deal party, whipping its MPs against motions and measures to design to stop no-deal from happening.”
He added: “The place is broken…It’s an embarrassment to the country and Britain deserves better.”
He said it was “essential” that MPs vote to extend Article 50 tomorrow.
Conservative Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin called tonight’s vote a “sad day for democracy”.
He tweeted: “Tonight, anti-Brexit MPs passed a motion they think will lead to Brexit being blocked: the first steps towards many MPs breaking their election promises to honour the EURef result are now being taken.
“A sad day for democracy.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan accused the Government of being in “chaos”.
He tweeted: “I welcome the votes in Parliament today. Despite utter chaos from the Government, MPs have voted to rule out a catastrophic no-deal Brexit. The only sensible way to proceed now is to withdraw Article 50 and give the British public the final say on Brexit.”
Conservaitve Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, however, was adamant the UK was still heading towards a no-deal Brexit.
He simply tweeted: “The law still says we leave on 29th March”.
Like Mr Khan, Labour MP David Lammy called for the final say on Brexit to go to the public again.
He said: “This is good news for struggling families, manufacturing workers, our hospitals and schools, who would pay the highest price. Now we have rejected #NoDealBrexit, the public deserves a choice between the government’s deal and Remaining in the EU.”
Labour’s Jess Phillips accused the Prime Minister of voting for no deal, hailing her as a disgrace.
She said: “I just watched the Prime Minister going in to vote for No Deal. I told her it was a disgrace. I hope she is gone by morning. She doesn’t deserve her office.”
Some MPs claimed the Government was encouraging Conservative MPs to vote for a no-deal Brexit in the final vote of the evening.
Heidi Allen, who recently quit the Conservative party to join The Independent Group, tweeted: “Utterly desperate and historic in equal measure. The Conservatives are whipping for ‘no deal’.”
And Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran wrote on Twitter: “SHAME on this government. They are whipping to vote FOR no deal. Reckless. Unbelievable. What madness.”
Labour’s Luke Pollard tweeted: “So….Labour is now voting for the Prime Minister’s amended motion and the Tories are now voting against the Prime Minister’s motion. Hope you’re all keeping up with this? What a mess.”
Green MP Caroline Lucas described the situation as “unbelievable” and “reckless self-indulgence”, tweeting: “Unbelievable – even by this Government’s standards…
“So now – against all their promises – they are whipping against the PM’s own motion to rule out No Deal. There is no greater example of reckless self indulgence.”
“Just hope enough might find a spine & at least abstain ….”
Labour MP Maria Eagle said Theresa May has “lost all authority” following the vote.
She tweeted: “She whipped it (having said she wouldn’t) voted against it (having said she’d vote for it) and lost big. She then told the House ‘nothing has changed’ She has lost all authority.”