Parliament Votes 391-242 to Reject Revised Divorce Agreement
As reported by Bloomberg, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal – renegotiated late on Monday night – was defeated by 391 votes to 242.
That was less than the record 230-vote margin she suffered in January, but still a resounding repudiation of two years of painstaking work.
With the deal all but dead, Parliament will probably vote to postpone Brexit this week, and lawmakers – including some of May’s own Cabinet – will likely try to maneuver to force the government to rip up its Brexit plans and start again.
Members of Parliament are expected to vote Wednesday to take a chaotic no-deal option off the table. May said she’ll offer a free vote, meaning the government will not whip Conservative lawmakers to take a particular side.
But there’s a risk all they manage to do is postpone the drama for another few months. It was notable that she included a second referendum on Brexit among the choices Parliament may face in coming months.
The British pound pared losses after May spoke.
The New York Times reports that the vote is sure to intensify calls for her to either step-down, call a general election, or both. Plenty of Conservative lawmakers would like to take her place as party leader and prime minister, but there is no obvious front-runner, and the outcome of a general election is just as unclear.
Mrs. May’s plan, painstakingly negotiated with the European Union, would have set the terms for Britain’s scheduled exit on March 29.
“Voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face,” May said. “I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is that the U.K. leaves the EU in an orderly fashion with a deal and that the deal we have negotiated is the best and indeed the only deal available.”
The BBC reports that Prime Minister Theresa May said MPs will now get a vote on whether the UK should leave without a deal on 29 March and, if that fails, on whether Brexit should be delayed.
She said Tory MPs will get a free vote on a no-deal Brexit.
That means they can vote with their conscience rather than following the orders of party managers.
If the Commons declines to approve a no-deal Brexit in a vote on Wednesday, a vote on extending Article 50, the legal mechanism taking the UK out of the EU on 29 March, will take place on Thursday, said Mrs. May.
The EU’s Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said in a tweet: “The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line. The impasse can only be solved in the UK. Our ‘no-deal’ preparations are now more important than ever before.”
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