In a much heavier than expected defeat, the government lost by 41 votes in its attempt to take an anti-prorogation amendment out of the Northern Ireland bill. The vote was essentially a proxy for whether the Commons would accept no deal, and the size of the government’s loss is a reminder of how difficult any Prime Minister would find it to stay in office with this parliament if they went for no deal.
It is worth noting that the amendment doesn’t stop no deal; and doesn’t even create an obvious vehicle to do so. But with this size of majority, the anti-no deal faction will be confident of finding a way with John Bercow’s help.
Boris Johnson was in the Commons for the vote, ironically sitting just one row in front of a bunch of the Tory rebels. Today did show how difficult parliament will make things if he goes down the no-deal route. I suspect that these events will have strengthened the faction in his court that is arguing for a carefully calibrated Brexit on the basis that it is the best way to get a new deal.