MPs have voted down an attempt to guarantee EU citizens the right to stay in the UK permanently after Brexit.
They voted by 332 to 290 - a majority of 42 - against ensuring permanent residency in the UK before Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50.
The amendment to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was brought by Labour’s Harriet Harman.
The move would have ensured that all EU citizens legally living in the UK on June 23 - the date of the EU referendum - would have their right to stay protected.
Just three Tory MPs voted in favour of the amendment – Ken Clarke, Andrew Tyrie and Tania Matthias. The Liberal Democrats hope to pass amendments to the Bill when it makes its way through the House of Lords later this month.
Some MPs reacted angrily to the vote, which came ahead of the entire Bill being voted through comfortably.
While the future of three million EU citizens remains uncertain, Brexit Minister David Jones has said a deal can only be done after Article 50 is invoked. Ahead of the vote, he said:
“The Government fully recognises that the issue of EU nationals resident in the UK is an extremely important one and one that we want to address as a matter of priority – just as we wish to address the issue of the rights of the UK nationals resident in the EU.”