Defeat 2.0: May’s ‘Improved’ Brexit Deal Gets Killed by British Parliament, Too
The British MPs are now due to vote on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal, the so called hard Brexit.
The British Parliament has once again killed the EU – UK Brexit deal proposed by British Prime Minister Theresa May despite the last-minute concessions she got from Brussels to amend the withdrawal agreement.
This time May did better – the House of Commons of the British Parliament voted down Brexit deal 2.0 by 149 votes – whereas the original Brexit deal was killed back in January by a margin of 230 votes, the worst parliamentary defeat in British history.
The main concession made by the EU before the new vote in London concerned the highly contentious Northern Ireland backstop deal: it granted Britain the right to start a “formal dispute” against the EU if the Union tried to keep the UK tied to it indefinitely using the Northern Irish backstop.
17 days before the Brexit date of March 29, the British Prime Minister had made a plea to the MPs to endorse her new deal with Brussels, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had warned them the UK would “not get a third chance”.
Yet, all that proved to be insufficient to convince the majority in the House of Commons – even though some 40 MPs from May’s ruling Conservative Party changed their mind, and this time backed the Brexit deal.
“I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is the UK leaves the European Union in an orderly fashion with a deal,” May said in a statement after the defeat, as cited by BBC News.
“And that the deal we have negotiated is the best and indeed only deal available,” she added.
The next step now would be to have the MPs vote on Wednesday on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal or not.
If they still prefer a deal with the EU, on Thursday they will vote on whether to ask the Union to extend Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which is the legal mechanism for exiting.
According to May, the UK is now left with “unenviable” choice but “they are choices that must be faced” now that the second Brexit deal has been rejected.
The choices in question are to decide whether Brexit should be delayed, whether to hold another Brexit referendum, or whether “to leave with a deal but not this deal”, although she made it clear that a no-deal Brexit remained the UK’s default position
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said May does not plan to discuss a resignation because of the confidence vote she had recently won in the House of Commons.
She also has no plans to go back to Brussels to ask the EU for more concessions because she deems the amended Brexit deal is best possible offer.
The UK Cabinet is set to reveal details of how Britain would manage the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in case of a no-deal Brexit.
The British MPs will get a free vote on Wednesday on whether to go for a Brexit without a deal meaning they can vote with their conscience rather than following party lines, which is deemed an unusual move for a vote of such importance.
(Banner image: Video grab from BBC News)