WILTSHIRE MPs Robert Buckland and Claire Perry were last night facing calls to resign their ministerial jobs, after they abstained on a critical Brexit vote.

Members of parliament voted by 321 votes to 278 to reject a no-deal Brexit. It meant a second night of defeat for prime minister Theresa May, whose original motion would have stopped the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal on March 29 but would have kept the option on the table.

Mr Buckland and Ms Perry were among 17 ministers who did not cast their ballots in the crucial no-deal vote. Others included work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd.

It is as yet unclear what will happen to the two MPs. Mr Buckland has served as South Swindon’s member of parliament since 2010 and Ms Perry was voted in by her Devizes constituents in the same year.

A Downing Street source late last night said ministers who voted against the government would be expected to resign, but did not clarify what would happen to those who abstained.

"Voting against the government is a resigning matter," the source told the Press Association.

However, Sky News later reported the ministers were unlikely to be asked to resign. Only Sarah Newton, a DWP minister who actively voted against the prime minister, would go.

On social media last night, there were calls for the abstaining ministers to step down. One man, who claimed to be Mr Buckland’s constituent, said: “I will do my best to ensure South Swindon do not elect him again.” Nick Martin, the chairman of the Swindon Conservative Association, was said to be absolutely backing his South Swindon MP.

Justin Tomlinson, North Swindon MP, called on fellow politicians to “dig themselves out of their respective trenches and compromise to break the deadlock”.

Speaking after the government's defeat yesterday Mr Tomlinson said: "The public and businesses are clear they want a Deal which delivers Brexit, ends uncertainty and allows everyone to move on.”

Mrs May told MPs she accepted there was a clear majority against no-deal in the Commons.

But she insisted no-deal remains the default option in UK and EU law unless a withdrawal agreement is reached.

MPs are expected to today debate a government motion to extend the Brexit date from March 29 to June 30.

  • A previous version of this article listed Philip Hammond, rather than Stephen Hammond as one of the ministers to abstain from voting. The Swindon Advertiser would like to apologise for this error.