FOUR local MPs voted against their government as Theresa May suffered a devastating blow to her Brexit plans.

The Commons will vote this evening on whether to back a ‘no-deal’ Brexit after last night defeating the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement by a majority of 149 votes.

The local MPs voting against the government’s proposals on Tuesday were Conor Burns (Bournemouth West), Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch), Richard Drax (South Dorset) and Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole).

Eurosceptics Sir Robert Syms (Poole) and Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) were persuaded to back the government this time, along with defence minister Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East), Simon Hoare (North Dorset) and prominent backbencher Sir Oliver Letwin (West Dorset).

The latest developments have criticised by business leaders, with barely a fortnight to go until Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union.

Ian Girling, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “With now literally now days to go until March 29, we still face complete turmoil regarding Brexit. Chaos continues and the uncertainty that faces businesses is not acceptable and we are going round in circles.

“After two and half years, our position still remains very uncertain and the business community are exasperated. This lack of consensus is terrible for business and we urgently need resolution on Brexit. Enough is enough. We cannot say this more strongly.”

Sir Robert Syms tweeted ahead of the vote that he would be “happy” with leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, but the option “will not get through this parliament and I think we have to honour [the] referendum result and leave”.

Tobias Ellwood said on Twitter this morning: "Today is a free vote day. Yet again, some who’ve long wanted Brexit - voted against it. NO DEAL does not honour the spirit of Art 50 or our Manifesto. It would damage our economy, security and our reputation. Gov Policy: to leave with a deep & special partnership with the EU."

Michael Tomlinson tweeted this morning that he was “straight back into committee ensuring we are ready for all eventualities when we leave”.

If MPs reject a ‘no-deal’ Brexit tonight, there will be a vote tomorrow on delaying withdrawal from the EU – although this would not automatically be agreed by the EU itself.

More follows.