Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Government wins crunch vote on European Arrest Warrant by NINE VOTES

The government has just won the vote extending the debate on the justice and home affairs opt-outs by just nine votes – 251 ayes to 242 noes. This means that MPs have approved the motion for the debate to continue to 10pm, which rebels and Labour had turned against because the Speaker had said that this was not a vote on the European Arrest Warrant. Theresa May is insistent, though, that this is a vote on the matter.

Such a narrow win is clearly a relief for ministers  – and many of them had been hauled into the Commons early by panicked whips who suddenly realised they were facing a defeat. If just a few more had been delayed, the rebels could have won. It is still a serious blow for the Home Secretary. Those Tory MPs who were so impressed by the way she’s operated over the past few weeks to persuade sceptics to back the government on the arrest warrant may well be reconsidering their admiration. But it could be that this motion was Michael Gove’s idea. If that is so, the feud between the Home Secretary and the Chief Whip is hardly going to fade…

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