Reuters put it quite succinctly at the time:
LONDON (Reuters) - British Conservative lawmaker Caroline Spelman, who had proposed a vote in parliament to rule out a no-deal Brexit in any scenario, said on Wednesday she no longer backed her own amendment.
However, speaker John Bercow said the amendment could yet be voted on if one of its other signatories chose to press ahead with it when voting starts in parliament at around 1900 GMT.
The amendment goes further than the government’s own wording, which notes that parliament does not want to leave without a deal on March 29 and that the default legal position is to leave without a deal unless one is ratified by parliament.
The government has asked Conservative lawmakers to vote against Spelman’s amendment.
Footage in the House of Commons when she tried to withdraw her amendment is found on YouTube.
Conservativehome.com explained it further the day after:
The vote has no legal force, but it sends an important signal.
Michael Gove pledged earlier that leglslation would be introduced if the Government won its own motion. That would have taken the date of March 29 out of the legislation and presumably put that of a new date in. The logic of the Spelman amendment is that no new date would be put in. It is unclear as we write whether the Government would be prepared to legislate for this.
However, since Spelman’s amendment has won, it will in effect become the Government’s motion.
The question that follows is whether Brexiteering Government Ministers will vote for a harder No Deal motion than was originally on the table. That vote was due to be a free vote. But as we write it is claimed that the Government will whip against it. So the question is how many of anti-No Deal Ministers will now vote against their own Government, and either resign or be fired (or neither).
We will see very shortly. As we write, the Damian Green “Malthouse amendment” is being voted on.
The Malthouse amendment in the last line of that quote was also defeated, more information on that amendment and the votes can be found at brexitcentral.com.