Theresa May’s Brexit deal staggered on last night after MPs once again rejected every alternative plan to leave the EU.
The Brexit paralysis gripping Britain deepened after MPs rejected all four options on the table.
Proposals for a customs union, a Norway Plus-style departure and a second referendum were all defeated.
The chaotic results of the “indicative votes” highlighted the division and gridlock that is still gripping the Commons.
With just 10 days to go until Brexit, Mrs May heads into a crunch Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to thrash out the future of Brexit.
The PM has just five hours to save her thrice-rejected Brexit deal in what is expected to be a heated clash over which way to go next to get Britain out of the shambles caused by her stubborn refusal to change her mind.
With both Brexiteer and Remainer ministers threatening to quit, the explosive meeting could fatally split her party and even bring an end to her premiership.
Mrs May had already faced the further humiliation of handing over control of Parliament to MPs tonight for a series of debates and indicative votes on soft Brexit alternatives to her plan, which were all rejected.
They could on Wednesday try once again to find a compromise plan that can make it through the Commons.
MPs rejected a customs union – thought to be the most popular option – by a majority of just three, with 273 for and 276 against. It was defeated by just six votes last week.
But just 37 Tory MPs – including nine ministers – voted for Tory MP Ken Clarke’s plan, showing the party was in no mood for compromise and that Mrs May would be forced to rely on Labour votes to get a soft Brexit through.
Parliament also said no to Norway Plus, the single market plus a customs relationship, which was defeated by just 21 votes, 282 to 261.
Senior MP Nick Boles, an architect of the proposal, dramatically quit the Tory party after the result was announced.
© AFP/Getty Images Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, announces the outcome of the second round of indicative votesHis voice cracking with emotion, he told the Commons: “I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion.
“I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refused to compromise. I regret therefore to announce that I can no longer sit for this party.”
Labour and SNP MPs – who backed his proposal – applauded his decision, while Tory MP Hew Merriman pleaded: “Oh Nick, don’t go.
There was deep frustration among MPs that colleagues were “gaming” results in the hope their own favourite became the final fallback.
All of the Independent Group’s 11 MPs, five Lib Dems and some Labour backbenchers voted against a soft Brexit.
Instead they backed motion demanding a second referendum, dubbed a confirmatory vote, which lost by 292 votes to 280, majority 12.
Labour backed the plan but 24 Labour MPs who represent Leave constituencies voted against the deal.
Party chairman Ian Lavery and shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett, close allies of Jeremy Corbyn , both abstained.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “disappointed” by the result but called for fresh votes on the same options on Wednesday.
© AFP/Getty Images Ken Clarke hoped to make progress with a plan on MondayHe said: “The margin of defeat for one of the options tonight was very narrow indeed and the PM’s deal has been rejected by very large majorities on three occasions.
“If it’s good enough for the PM to have three chances on her deal, then I suggest that possibly the House should have a chance to consider again the options that we had before us today.”
The Cabinet will gather today for a three-hour meeting to thrash out a way forward, followed by two more hours of talks after lunch.
At their heart will be whether they can back a softer Brexit to break the gridlock – or go for a general election instead, which party sources say it can ill afford.
Either option threatens to critically divide Mrs May’s party and put her job at risk.
It came amid reports that Chancellor Philip Hammond will tell the Cabinet that the Government has to make its own Brexit compromise proposal or admit that Parliament has failed and the decision should be put back to the people in a second referendum.
There have also been speculation that Mrs May could bring back her deal for a fourth time but link it to a confidence motion in the Government.
A longer extension from the EU looked on the cards after de facto deputy PM David Lidington wrote to the Electoral Commission to give it the green light to prepare for European elections in May as a “contingency”.
© PA Nick Boles speaking in the House of CommonsAs MPs debated, demonstrators paraded an effigy of Mrs May outside the Houses of Parliament with a representation of the British economy skewered on the end of her nose.
And in an extraordinary intervention, Mrs May’s chief whip Julian Smith said the Government should have known losing its majority in 2017 would “inevitably” lead to a softer Brexit.
But the PM was still desperately clinging to her battered Brexit plan in the hope of finally pushing it through this week.
There had been ongoing speculation the most popular of the four options could go into a “run” off with her plan this week.
The third defeat of the withdrawal agreement on Friday, by 58 votes, left Mrs May facing a spiralling crisis.
Downing Street had hoped support for a soft Brexit could finally convince Brexiteer rebels the PM’s deal was the only one on offer.
But Mrs May’s hopes of winning over the DUP were looking slim.
Its Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said it would vote “a thousand times” against the plan as the implications for Northern Ireland are “far too serious”.’
© REUTERS Jeremy Corbyn says the votes could come back WednesdayA hardcore of Tory eurosceptics appeared to stand firm.
Rebel Richard Drax, who backed the deal last week, said he made “the wrong call” and would now oppose it.
Tory MPs were given a free vote last night, but Cabinet ministers had been told to abstain.
Sir Oliver Letwin, who last week seized control of the order paper for MPs, suggested ministers could bring in a softer Brexit through exit legislation that still has to pass.
As MPs debated, Tory leadership contenders, including Boris Johnson and Liz Truss stepped up their campaigns with media appearances.
Brussels chiefs urged the Government and MPs to make up their minds.
UK chief of German firm Siemens, Juergen Maier, said Britain was wrecking its reputation and urged MPs to back a customs union.
He said: “We are all running out of patience. Where the UK used to be beacon for stability, we are now becoming a laughing stock.”