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Brexit / Second meaningful vote defeated by 149 votes

Alistair Carmichael

THERESA May’s desperate attempts to appease her own divided party have led to a second historic Brexit defeat in the House of Commons, according to isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

Speaking shortly after the government lost the second meaningful vote by 242 to 391 votes on Tuesday evening, Carmichael said that rather than the Irish backstop the prime minister’s own red lines were the reason why she could not command a majority in the house.

The Orkney and Shetland MP, who voted against the government, said that the 52/48 Brexit referendum result showed that the country was split down the middle on the issue, and should therefore have been read as a mandate to find a compromise on how best to leave the European Union.

This, he said, could have meant the UK leaving the EU but staying in the customs union and the single market.

“She chose not to do that, she put the red lines in because that was the only way to keep her own party on track.

“It has been from day one an exercise in keeping her party together rather than pursuing the national interest,” he said.

Carmichael said he was confident that there will be a majority in the House of Commons on Wednesday when MPs vote on a motion to block the option of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.