The House of Commons has rejected a bid by Jeremy Corbyn to force a debate on Labour’s Brexit plans.
Mr Corbyn’s call for more time to be given for MPs to consider alternatives to the Brexit deal was the first in a series of amendments being put to the vote on Tuesday evening.
Prime Minister Theresa May made a plea to MPs to give her a “mandate” to reopen negotiations with Brussels by backing a proposal from Tory grandee Sir Graham Brady, which calls for the controversial backstop to be replaced by “alternative arrangements” to keep the Irish border open after Brexit.
The chances of the Brady amendment succeeding were boosted when hardline Eurosceptics in the backbench European Research Group announced they would support it.
But Mrs May’s hopes of reopening the Withdrawal Agreement struck with the EU last November were dealt a blow by French President Emmanuel Macron, who described it as “not renegotiable”.
Speaking in Cyprus moments before MPs voted, Mr Macron said: “As the European Council in December clearly indicated, the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK and EU is the best agreement possible.
“It is not renegotiable.”
Mr Macron called on Mrs May to present the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier with her next steps for avoiding a no-deal Brexit on March 29, which he said “no-one wants, but … we must all, despite everything, prepare for”.
Mr Corbyn’s amendment was defeated by 296 votes to 327, with MPs thought to have voted broadly along party lines.