U.K. Parliament rejects Theresa May's Brexit deal in pivotal vote

Share

British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit divorce deal by a crushing margin on Tuesday, triggering political chaos that could lead to a disorderly exit from the European Union or even to a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave.

British political reporters estimated that as many as 100 Conservative Party members of Parliament might vote against May's deal, joining the opposition Labour party and others, including Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which helps prop up May's minority government - but hates her Brexit deal.

May has increasingly warned that the choice is between her deal and a no-deal Brexit, with traders on the website now suggesting that the chance of the United Kingdom leaving without a deal is just 10%, close to all-time low levels.

And it is also likely to trigger a bid to force a general election by Jeremy Corbyn, who has said he will table a motion of no-confidence in the Government "soon" after it is defeated on its central policy platform.

The vote is expected on Wednesday at 1900 GMT.

Speaking immediately after the result was announced in parliament, Mrs May said: "First we need to confirm whether this government still enjoys the confidence of the house, which I believe it does".

The vote was originally meant to take place in December, but as it became increasingly clear that members of parliament were opposed to the deal, May delayed the vote.

'The responsibility of each and every one of us at this moment is profound, for this is a historic decision that will set the future of our country for generations'.

It offers a 21-month transition period after the official Brexit date of March 29 2019 to prepare for the new arrangements.

Know more: What is Brexit all about?

She won with 325 votes to 306.

Remain protesters have been outside Parliament today.

More news: Former major league pitcher John Wetteland charged with child sex abuse
More news: Sharapova shows no sympathy after handing Dart double-bagel
More news: Trump's AG nominee: Mueller should be allowed to finish work

Theresa may said if the government got support they would work with MPs across the Commons on finding a deal.

"If the house confirms its confidence in this government, I will then hold meetings with my colleagues and our confidence and supply partner the DUP and senior parliamentarians across the house to identify what would be required to secure the backing of the house".

The Liberal Democrat party member, Layla Moran, spoke for many when she told the BBC, "Brexit is a complete cluster shambles". Her supporters say she will not resign, even in the face of a crushing defeat. Parliament has given the government until Monday to come up with a new plan for leaving the EU.

The UK government's current plan appears to be to try to ram a very similar version of the agreement through parliament on a second or possibly even third attempt.

In Strasbourg, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas raised the possibility of further talks while ruling out a full renegotiation of the text.

Hardline Brexiteers and Remainers oppose the agreement for different reasons and many fear it could lock Britain into an unfavorable trading relationship with the EU.

Bitter debates about Britain's place in the world have dominated the national discourse ever since the referendum, dividing families and playing out in front of parliament on Tuesday.

February 20, 2016: Cameron announces that he has negotiated a deal with European Union leaders which will give Britain "special status".

Early predictions estimate Tuesday night's vote will result in one of the worst defeats in British parliamentary history.

It does, however, raise a series of hard questions for the U.K.in the shadow of that March deadline - chief among them: What happens next?

A diplomatic source told AFP any extension would not be possible beyond June 30, when the new European Parliament will be formed.

Without it, and if there is no delay, Britain will sever 46 years of ties with its nearest neighbours with no agreement to ease the blow.

Share