British Prime Minister Theresa May has faced a catastrophic defeat in the House of Commons today, as politicians have once again voted against her proposed deal for Brexit, which is due to happen just 17 days from now.
Following the rejection of her last deal almost two months ago, May hoped that her last minute negotiations with the EU on Monday night would help her to win the support of MPs today.
The chamber today was ‘absolutely rammed’, tweeted MP Hannah Bardell, as British lawmakers flocked to the Commons to cast their votes. The result was 391 to 242 against the deal.
May commented that she ‘profoundly regrets’ the decision taken by the House of Commons today, whilst saying that she still passionately believes that the best outcome is to leave the EU in an ‘orderly manner’.
‘The deal we negotiated is the best and indeed the only deal available,” said the Prime Minister. “Leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law.”
‘The Prime Minister has run down the clock’
Following the vote, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn commented that the PM’s time had run out.
“The Prime Minister has run down the clock, and the clock has been run out on her’, he said.
Some Conservative MPs, such as Ben Bradley, had resigned to supporting May’s bill due to the risk of a no-deal Brexit and the sense of instability in Britain.
However, most politicians were evidently not persuaded.
MPs will vote this week on whether to crash out of the European Union with no deal, or whether they will delay the divorce process further, perhaps leading to a second referendum or further negotiations with the EU.
No deal preparations
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, warned in a tweet that there must be a withdrawal agreement in order for a smooth transition out of the EU. Without this, Britain with crash out on March 29.
Following the vote today, Barnier tweeted that the no-deal preparations ‘are now more important than ever before.”
European Council President Donald Tusk says that the EU is disappointed by the result of the vote today, as the bloc has done ‘all that is possible to reach an agreement’.
Tusk argued that ‘it is difficult to see what more (the EU) can do’ in finding a deal for the UK.
The EU Council will meet next week (March 21), which could be May’s last chance to apply for an extension of Article 50, if the Commons take this decision.
Joan Ryan, an MP from the new break-away Independent Group, argues that an extension of Article 50 should be implemented and that the choice should go back to the people, implying a second referendum.
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, however, suggested that May’s new deal was an ‘embarrassment’ and that a no-deal Brexit is ‘the only safe route out of the abyss and the only safe route to self respect’ for the country.
May has confirmed that parliamentarians will get to decide within the next few days whether the country will leave with no deal or they will attempt to delay departure from the EU.