The motion before the Commons on Thursday 14th February was
‘That this House welcomes the Prime Minister’s statement of 12 February 2019; reiterates its support for the approach to leaving the EU expressed by this House on 29 January 2019 and notes that discussions between the UK and the EU on the Northern Ireland backstop are ongoing.’
Many of my euro-sceptic colleagues abstained, ensuring that the motion was defeated. I was not one of them. They refused to back it because they believed that it implied ruling-out the possibility of a no deal exit from the EU, but in her statement of 12 February when the PM undertook to go back and renegotiate with the EU as demanded by Parliament, she made it clear that no deal had to remain an option. Furthermore, ministers made it plain as day during the debate on 14th Feb the outcome must involve the possibility of not reaching an agreement and so leaving on March 29th without one (because that is what the Withdrawal Act 2018 requires).
The PM is not strengthened in her negotiations by having to return to Europe with another parliamentary defeat under her belt.
Failing to support the motion was an act of folly.