Theresa May has suffered another rebellion after a wave of Tory MPs defied the party whip on her plan to offer Parliament the chance to delay Brexit.
Twenty Conservatives voted against the Government-backed Yvette Cooper amendment to firm up the proposal, while a further 88 abstained.
Brexiteers including former Cabinet Esther McVey, Bill Cash and Nigel Mills were among those who voted against the strict instruction to back it, while Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab were among those who stayed away.
One of those who abstained told the Telegraph: «It was an indication of our displeasure that she buckled so easily [over Article 50] in the face of pretty reprehensible tactics by certain government ministers.»
The latest rebellion came as the Government also bowed to pressure to accept an amendment from Tory MP Alberto Costa seeking to beef up protections for EU citizens under a no-deal Brexit.
The amendment passed without requiring a vote after the Government agreed to accept it — but not before Mr Costa had resigned as a ministerial aide.
Addressing MPs after quitting, Mr Costa said it was a «very sad state of affairs» that his amendment — which called for the Government to keep its pact on citizens’ rights with the EU even if the UK leaves without a deal — had been needed.
And he said the rights of EU citizens living in the UK «should never have been used as a bargaining chip».