May’s EU – UK Brexit Deal Suffers Crushing Defeat in Parliament, Worst in British History
The British Cabinet is now facing a no confidence vote, and the fate of Brexit is a huge question mark 2.5 months before its set date.
The Brexit deal between the EU and UK championed by British Prime Minister Theresa May has been rejected overwhelmingly by the House of Commons of the British Parliament in the country’s worst parliamentary defeat for a sitting government ever.
A total of 432 MPs voted against May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday evening vs. 202 votes in favor. The defeat by 230 votes is the largest for a sitting Cabinet in British history.
The categorical rejection of the Brexit deal brokered and promoted by May comes a mere two-and-a-half months before March 29, the projected date for the UK’s departure from the European Union.
May’s fiasco has made the possibility of a no-deal, or hard Brexit very high but it has also paved the way for other scenarios such as delaying the UK’s exit from the EU.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes – the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.
May spent the last two years working on the Brexit deal with the EU, which was eventually based on her Chequers plan from July 2018, and its defeat is widely seen as a tremendous blow to her.
Under the terms the British leader negotiated with Brussels, the UK’s orderly departure from the EU at the end of March 2019 would have included a 21-month post-Brexit transition period to hammer out a future free trade deal.
The leader of the opposition Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, tabled a no confidence vote for May’s Cabinet immediately after Tuesday night’s vote, BBC News reports.
The no confidence motion is scheduled for 19:00 GMT on Wednesday, and may spur a general election in the UK.
The overwhelming parliamentary defeat of May’s Brexit deal became possible after a total of 118 MPs from her ruling Conservative Party voted against it together with the opposition.
At the same time, though, three opposition Labor MPs supported the EU – UK deal of the British Prime Minister.
Regardless of the devastating loss, May made it clear immediately that she was not going to resign.
“The House has spoken and this government will listen,” she told the British House of Commons, suggesting that, should she manage to win Wednesday’s no confidence vote, the MPs should hold cross-party talks to figure out how the UK would proceed with Brexit.
“[This is a] bigger defeat than people have been expecting,” commented leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson who resigned in July as May’s Foreign Secretary precisely in protest against her Chequers plan.
If May loses the no confidence vote, there will be a 14-day deadline for a new Cabinet to win a confidence vote. If that doesn’t happen, a general election will be held but no earlier than 25 days.
Commenting on the defeat of the Brexit deal in the British Parliament, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the risk of a disorderly Brexit had increased.
“[The deal was] the only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal,” Juncker stated, arguing that he and European Council President Donald Tusk had “demonstrated goodwill” to help clarify uncertainties.
“I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up,” Juncker said.
“If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” Tusk tweeted in turn, seemingly hinting that the UK should cancel Brexit and stick with the EU.
(Banner image: TV grab from BBC News)