'MPs have easily passed a backbench amendment seeking to block any attempt by a future government to prorogue parliament to ensure a no-deal Brexit, in what is likely to be seen as a pre-emptive strike against Boris Johnson’s authority.
The amendment, tabled by a cross-party group led by Labour’s Hilary Benn and the Conservatives’ Alistair Burt, passed by an unexpectedly large margin of 41 votes, with 315 MPs backing it and 274 opposed.
One of those to support the measure was the culture, media and sport minister Margot James, who resigned from her post to do so.
Among a series of other ministers who did not vote and who are understood not to have had permission to miss it were the chancellor, Philip Hammond; the justice secretary, David Gauke; the business secretary, Greg Clark; and Rory Stewart, the international development secretary.
It is understood they were not paired with an opposition absentee and so were expected by Theresa May to obey the three-line whip.
In a pointed statement afterwards, a spokesman for May said: “The prime minister is obviously disappointed that a number of ministers failed to vote in this afternoon’s division. No doubt her successor will take this into account when forming their government.”
Johnson, the clear favourite to be declared winner of the Conservative leadership contest against Jeremy Hunt next week and thus replace May as prime minister, has repeatedly refused to rule out using prorogation to ensure a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.'
Read more: MPs pass amendment seeking to thwart no-deal Brexit prorogation
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