THE Welsh Assembly has voted to reject the controversial deal between the UK and the European Union.

With MPs due to vote on the deal next Tuesday, the agreement went before the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday, with AMs due to vote as the Argus went to press.

And, in a surprising move, a Plaid Cymru motion rejecting the deal altogether, demanding an extension to Article 50 and calling for the UK to retain membership of the single market and customs union, won the support of AMs, who backed it 34 votes to 16.

But the vote is not legally binding on the UK Government, meaning it is not obligated to take action.

Another amendment calling for a so-called ‘people’s vote’, also presented by Plaid Cymru, was defeated by 39 votes to 11, and a Ukip motion calling for Brexit to continue was voted down by 44 votes to five, with one abstention.

During the debate in the Assembly this afternoon some AMs criticised the Welsh Government’s initial motion, which called only for a new General Election or ‘people’s vote’ if further agreement could not be reached on membership of the single market, for not going far enough.

Opening the debate, the Welsh Government's finance minister Mark Drakeford said Brexit had become "a full-blown crisis".

"The deal that is before us is unacceptable to the Welsh Government, and one which we believe should be rejected," he said.

"I hope that the National Assembly for Wales will agree that position, so that those who are ultimately responsible for passing a verdict on the two elements of the deal struck by the prime minister, the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration, are left in no doubt of the views of this Assembly."

He added he believed the opportunity remained to negotiate "a very different deal".

But Plaid Cymru went further, calling for Article 50 to be extended and for a so-called 'people's vote' to be held on the terms of the deal.

Saying "only a fresh referendum can end the political impasse", South Wales East AM Steffan Lewis said: "Now and then, as Parliamentarians, we are asked to search our conscience before casting votes on truly historic events and decisions.

"My conscience tells me that the deal on offer is so potentially damaging to the communities we're elected to represent that neither the withdrawal agreement nor the political declaration deserve the support of this Parliament, and that they should not simply be noted, but they should be rejected by this Parliament.

"I honestly believe that allowing the people to decide the way forward from here is democratically sound and also essential if the political gridlock is to end in Westminster."

But Conservative group leader Paul Davies called on AMs to back the prime minister's deal.

"Like all negotiations, it is a compromise, so I appreciate that it will not at the same time satisfy hard-line Brexiteers and staunch remainers," he said. "But I believe it is a deal that those who respect the referendum result can unite around. As a compromise, the deal may not be perfect, but surely, it is better than the alternatives of no deal or no Brexit at all."

Meanwhile, Ukip AM Neil Hamilton called the deal "a national humiliation."

"Theresa May has achieved what I think anybody would have thought at the start of this process was the impossible of producing an outcome that is even worse than staying in the EU itself," he said.

"It consigns the United Kingdom to a period of purgatory, when we will have to try and expiate our anti-federalist sins at the EU's behest, whilst actually achieving nothing in practical terms from leaving the EU."

Closing the debate, Mr Drakeford said: "As a democrat, you have to sometimes accept decisions with which you profoundly disagree.

"But I've never seen it as a rule that says that you have to wait for a generation in which to fight that good fight a second time, and I don't agree, I absolutely do not agree, with the argument that says that you have to implement a disaster before you can attempt to avert it."

Speaking after the vote, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: “We are glad that Labour answered our call to work together at a cross-party level by accepting our important amendment, which means that the Senedd has tonight spoken with a clear voice to say that we do not support the prime minister’s Brexit deal.

“Wales is the first parliament in the UK to vote on Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement and political declaration and has become the first to reject it, calling instead to extend Article 50 and negotiate membership of the single market and customs union.

“We were disappointed however that Labour did not support our people’s vote amendment.

“We hope they realise before it’s late that the only way the Brexit impasse in Westminster can ultimately be resolved is through a people’s vote, and that they will join Plaid Cymru in campaigning passionately to let the people have the final say on the way forward.”