Theresa May backed down over on citizens’ rights after a No Deal Brexit to avoid yet another damaging Commons defeat.
The Government supported a powerful bid by Tory MP Alberto Costa to offer guarantees to more than 5m people in crunch Brexit votes.
But bizarrely the ministerial aide, who has Italian parents, was forced to quit so he could table the amendment.
It came after Home Secretary Sajid Javid had backed the move saying there was “nothing wrong” with it.
The Brexit U-turn came just 24 hours after the Prime Minister suggested she could not support his plan.
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Mr Costa had urged Mrs May to push for the rights of all British nationals settled in the EU, and EU citizens here, to be ringfenced in a no deal scenario.
But she told him: “If it’s not within that withdrawal agreement then it is a matter for individual states, and we have already taken that up with individual states.”
The Tory MP accused her of hiding behind process. Sources claimed he was later sacked, despite Mr Javid’s support and No 10 saying the PM didn’t oppose the move.
Labour backed his amendment, as well as dozens of Tory backbenchers, including prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said his departure would “prolong the anxiety and uncertainty” of 3.5m EU citizens living in the UK and 1.5m Brits on the continent.
Mrs May had already taken the sting out of the Brexit votes by vowing to give MPs votes next month on No Deal and delaying Brexit.
But she faced pressure from French president Emmanuel Macron who said the UK would need a good reason to postpone its departure beyond March 29.
He said that any request from Britain would need to be justified by “a clear perspective on the goal,” adding: “We don’t need time, we need decisions.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, said the EU would not oppose any request for an extension.
Labour also formally commited to supporting a second referendum after its own Brexit alternative was defeated.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer confirmed Labour would back or table an amendment in favour of a public vote between a deal and Remain.
But Jeremy Corbyn ’s spokesman raised Labour temperatures by suggesting “other outcomes” could still be on the table.
There were also early signs that some Tory eurosceptics could swing in behind the PM’s deal.