One of the Big Four accountancy firms has said it will continue to advise its clients to plan for a no-deal Brexit after speaking to the Chancellor.

During a conference call in the wake of the Prime Minister's massive Commons defeat yesterday, Philip Hammond reportedly attempted to reassure business leaders concerned that the UK will crash out of the EU.

According to the Financial Times, the Chancellor pointed out to those on the call that there is "a large majority in the Commons that is opposed to no-deal".

Business and union leaders have called for urgent action to find a way through the crisis sparked by MPs' landslide rejection of Theresa May's deal.

Some have pressed for an extension of Article 50 to avoid the country leaving the EU without a deal on March 29.

Steve Varley, chairman of EY UK, told the FT: "Based on advice from the Chancellor on a briefing call tonight, we will continue to advise our clients to plan for a no-deal Brexit."

Earlier Andrew Gray, head of Brexit at PwC, another of the so-called Big Four, warned businesses that are still considering contingency planning that "the time to act is now".

He said: "The result of today's meaningful vote shows that the certainty businesses are seeking is still out of reach. Until a way through can be found, it is important to remember that 'no deal' is the default outcome."

Business groups reacted with dismay after MPs rejected Mrs May's deal 432 votes to 202.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn swiftly tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government and a vote will be held today.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, said businesses will feel no deal "is hurtling closer".

"A new plan is needed immediately," she said. "This is now a time for our politicians to make history as leaders. All MPs need to reflect on the need for compromise and to act at speed to protect the UK's economy."

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said there were "no more words to describe the frustration, impatience, and growing anger amongst business after two-and-a-half years on a high-stakes political roller-coaster ride that shows no sign of stopping".

Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry said it was "time for politicians to come together and urgently find a way forward from this alarming Brexit stalemate, and now, no-confidence vote".

Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors, blamed the "collective failure of our political leaders that, with only a few weeks to go, we are staring down the barrel of no-deal".

He added: "MPs are behaving as though they have all the time in the world - how are businesses meant to prepare in this fog of confusion?"

Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union, said the scale of the defeat was "truly astonishing".

"A general election now is the only way for the electorate to voice their verdict on what has become a national tragedy for our nation," he said.