In a vote that might shape Britain for years to come, Parliament has once again rejected the Brexit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May had struck with the European Union regarding the terms of the U.K.’s exit.
And it wasn’t even close: 242 votes for, 391 votes against.
“I profoundly regret the decision that this House has taken tonight,” May said after the vote, which was one of the government’s largest defeats in the modern era. “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.”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the government “must accept its deal is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House.”
“The Prime Minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her,” he said, amid a raucous Parliament. “It’s time that we have a general election and the people can choose who their government should be.”
The defeat brings much closer the possibility of Britain either leaving the EU without a deal or conducting a second referendum on Brexit.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said in a tweet that “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.”
As the clock ticked down toward Tuesday’s vote, it became all but certain that May’s plan did not have the votes it needed to pass. An allied party from Northern Ireland and pro-Brexiteers from within May’s own Conservative Party had both signaled they would not support her.
The vote was a second attempt for May to gather the approval of Parliament on the terms by which Brexit will occur. Britain’s departure from the EU is scheduled to happen March 29, but it’s not clear now how or even whether that will occur. Read more