MPs slam May's Brexit deal
British MPs have voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, forcing parliament to decide whether it will back a no-deal exit or ask for a last-minute delay.
May’s deal was opposed by 391 MPs on Tuesday, compared to 242 votes of support. The result has left Britain in unchartered territory with local media predicting that another referendum may be on cards.
“I profoundly regret the decision that this House has taken tonight,” the PM said before the House of Commons.
“I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is that the UK 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,” Ms May noted.
The PM announced that a new vote will be held today to test whether the parliament supports leaving the European Union without a deal on 29 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,” Ms May explained.
If the MPs vote no again, they will proceed to a further vote on 14 March to decide on a Brexit delay.
If the extension is approved, the government will seek to agree that extension with the EU and bring forward the necessary legislation to change the exit date.
The PM, however, warned that voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension “does not solve the problems we face”.
“The EU will want to know what use we mean to make of such an extension.
“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?”
Prior to the vote, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU is ready for UK’s exit under the Withdrawal Agreement.
“If the Withdrawal Agreement gets the backing of the House, the European Union is ready to immediately begin preparations on our future relationship,” Juncker said.
“The European Commission's negotiation team is in place,” he added.