British MPs reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal
British MPs have rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit agreement for a second time, prompting a new vote on whether Britain should leave the European Union without a deal.
Ms May had hoped that MPs would be swayed in support of her deal after she secured legal assurances that an alternative arrangement to the Irish backstop would be agreed upon with the EU by December 2020.
The revised deal was defeated by 149 votes — 242 to 391 — with members from her own party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) voting against it.
Immediately following the defeat, Prime Minister May addressed the House of Commons, saying she deeply regretted the outcome of the vote.
“I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in an orderly fashion with a deal,” she said.
“And that the deal we’ve negotiated is the best, and indeed the only deal available.”
Ms May then went on to discuss what would happened next, referring to a prepared statement.
She said: “Two weeks ago, I made a series of commitments from this despatch box regarding the steps we would take in the event that this House rejected the deal on offer.
“I stand by those commitments in full.
“Therefore, tonight we will table a motion for debate tomorrow to test whether the House supports leaving the European Union without a deal on 29th March.
“This is an issue of grave importance for the future of our country.
“Just like the referendum, there are strongly held and equally legitimate views on both sides.
“For that reason, I can confirm that this will be a free vote on this side of the House.”
She confirmed the motion would read: “That this House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework on the Future Relationship on 29 March 2019; and notes that leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law unless this House and the EU ratify an agreement.”
However, such a vote is unlikely to pass the House as only hardcore Brexiteers consider a no deal Brexit ideal.
If predictions are right and the no deal vote fails, a third vote on extending the UK’s departure date will be held on Thursday (local time).
“The EU will want to know what use we mean to make of such an extension,” Ms May said.
“This House will have to answer that question. Does it wish to revoke Article 50? Does it want to hold a second referendum? Or does it want to leave with a deal but not this deal?
“These are unenviable choices, but thanks to the decision the House has made this evening they must now be faced.”
Yesterday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that there would be no further renegotiation if the deal failed a second time.
“There will be no third chance,” he said.
“There will be no further interpretations of the interpretations; no further assurances of the re-assurances — if the meaningful vote tomorrow fails.
“It is this deal or Brexit might not happen at all.”
With a majority of MPs against both the Prime Minister’s deal and the prospect of a no deal Brexit, Ms May’s options are slimming swiftly, shrouding the UK’s future in uncertainty.
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