In a surprise move, the Commons voted 312 to 308 - a majority of four - in favour of an amendment tabled by Tory former cabinet minister Dame Caroline Spelman. Sarah Newton has resigned as a minister at the Department for Work and Pensions over the Brexit vote. Bookies have now suspended betting on the next minister to jump ship.
Mrs Newton voted for the proposal to stop a no-deal and was among several Tory frontbenchers who rebelled in tonight's vote.
Twelve other ministers abstained in the vote on the Government motion, including four members of Theresa May's Cabinet.
The Commons voted 312 to 308 - a majority of four - in favour of a cross-party amendment, tabled by Dame Caroline Spelman, rejecting a no-deal Brexit.
The vote was later confirmed by a more emphatic 321 votes to 278, overriding a Government motion tabled by Mrs May which would have rejected no-deal on the scheduled date of March 29 but left it on the table for other times.
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A Cabinet source said a "significant number of ministers made it clear that they could not vote against Spelman in these circumstances and it was understood that they would not have to".
Among those who abstained were Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Scottish Secretary David Mundell, Justice Secretary David Gauke and Business Secretary Greg Clark.
Other ministers who abstained included Robert Buckland, Alistair Burt, Tobias Ellwood, Richard Harrington, Margot James, Anne Milton, Stephen Hammond and Claire Perry.
Health Minister Mr Hammond said: "Tonight the Government whips asked me to vote against the motion, as amended, to reject 'no deal'.
"I could not do this as I regard 'no deal' as a disaster. Therefore I abstained, despite being a Government minister."
Downing Street said ministers who voted against the whip tonight will be expected to resign but those who abstained will not.