UK Parliament Rejects Theresa May’s Brexit Deal for a Third Time
UK MPs vote for the second time on a deal to exit the EU.
UK MPs vote for the second time on a deal to exit the EU.(Photo: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

UK Parliament Rejects Theresa May’s Brexit Deal for a Third Time

Britain’s government rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Friday, 29 March, for a third time. The House of Commons voted 286-344 against the withdrawal agreement struck between May and the EU.

It follows defeats by even wider margins in January and March, and leaves the government's blueprint for exiting the bloc in tatters.

Earlier on Wednesday, May told Conservative Party lawmakers that she will quit if the deal is passed.

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Second Time Lucky? Theresa May Brings New Deal to UK Parliament

The first meaningful vote on 15 January 2019 (already delayed from December) was on the terms of United Kingdom’s messy divorce from the European Union (EU). The deal UK PM Theresa May put to Parliament then was defeated by 230 votes, in the biggest government defeat in history.

On 11 March 2019, in an 11th hour rush before the second vote on 12 March, May took her new terms to EU lawmakers, and struck what she hopes will be a more agreeable deal to the UK Parliament. These new terms, she says, are “legally binding” and will give legal assurance to MPs that the ‘Irish backstop’ will not be permanent.

Britain exits the EU on the 29th with or without a deal, but a no-deal Brexit is widely feared to cause havoc in the British system. The vote will be held on Tuesday evening, after a day-long debate in Parliament.

Also Read : UK Says Last-Ditch Brexit Talks Win ‘Legally Binding Changes’

(With inputs from AP)

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The Irish Backstop

(Photo altered by The Quint)

The Irish backstop that is currently the main point of contention was put in place between the UK and EU in most part to prevent a ‘hard border’ between Ireland and the UK. When Brexit is finalised, the border between Ireland and the UK becomes the new international border.

But neither Ireland nor the UK want to go back to having check posts and customs regulations for goods because of the disruption. At the same time, Brexiteers fear the backstop would result in the UK being tied indefinitely to EU laws. They have been demanding assurances that the UK will be able to exit the backstop unilaterally - assurances that May says her new deal provides.

Also Read : UK Lawmakers Vote to Hold Prime Minister to Brexit Promises

'Legal Risks of Brexit Unchanged': UK Attorney General

UK Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has now responded to UK PM Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s 11th hour deal before the vote. Cox says the new deal “does not change the legal risks” for the UK, and not does give it a legal avenue through which to unilaterally exit the Irish backstop if “intractable differences” between the parties arose.

This puts a spoke in May’s hopes of getting her new deal passed in the UK Parliament later today.

The pound fell by 1% against the US dollar in response to the A-G’s memo.

UK A-G Explains 'Legal Risk Unchanged' Memo

Attorney-General Cox defended his legal memo saying May’s new deal leaves the ‘legal risk [of not being able to unilaterally exit the Irish backstop] unchanged’.

Labour used the memo to argue that the government’s deal had delivered nothing new - Cox responded that while the legal risk may remain unchanged, the new deal significantly reduces the likelihood of ‘bad faith actions’ by the EU in backstop negotiations.

Also Read : Revised Brexit deal doesn't undermine backstop: Irish PM

'EU Won’t Renegotiate Again,' Says EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani

The head of the European Parliament said the European Union will not make further concessions to Britain after the country’s attorney general failed to fundamentally alter his legal advice on Prime Minister Theresa May’s revised deal, Associate Press reported.

EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani said the problems raised by the attorney general are “an internal problem of the UK” and would not prompt the EU to reconsider the Brexit deal again.

“We are very clear it is impossible to change our position,” Tajani said after he heard about the objections.

KEY EVENT

Key Brexit Lawmakers Reject May's Revised Deal

A group of key Brexit-backing lawmakers in Britain said that it won’t vote for UK PM Theresa May’s revised EU divorce deal as the “changes she has secured are not good enough.”

The European Research Group of Conservative Brexiteers said that after examining the documents, they will not accept government's motion.

Group member Bill Cash said “we do not recommend accepting the government’s motion today.”

'MPs Tonight Face Clear Choice... Deal or No Deal': UK PM May

Speaking during the proceeding, UK PM May said, "Tonight members of this House are faced with a very clear choice...vote to support this deal, in which case we leave with a deal, or risk no deal or no Brexit. These are the options before the House."

(Photo altered by The Quint)

Reteirating the core elements of the revised deal to convince lawmakers to vote for the the motion, May noted:

  • Full reciprocal protections of EU citizens in UK and UK citizens in EU
  • Implementation period to be given to everyone, especially to the businesses. Time will be allotted to the businesses to adjust
  • Full control of taxpayers' money from ending membership payments to EU
  • End of free movement, replaced by skills-based immigration
  • End of European Court of Justice jurisdiction in UK
  • End of common agricultural policy for farmers
  • End of common fisheries policy for our coastal communities
  • Closest possible economic relationship with UK’s neighbours outside the single customs union
  • Closest security partnership between UK and any third country
  • Protections for just-in-time supply chains
  • Ability to strike our own Free Trade Agreement

Brexit as Much a Cry Against London, as Against EU: Raghuram Rajan

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan believes that the UK could benefit from leaving the European Union (EU) if the government gets the Brexit policy framework right.

"I don't think it will be resolved if power goes back to London but doesn't get diffused to communities. This [Brexit] is as much a cry against London as it is a cry against the EU,” he told The Times.

Rajan, a former chief economist at the IMF who has also been tipped by some UK media reports as one of the candidates to succeed Mark Carney as the Governor of the Bank of England next year.

MP Calls Out May For 'Laughing', Earns Rebuke From Speaker

Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve at Westminster Ian Blackford urged the prime minister to "extend Article 50 and bring forward another EU referendum".

He earned a rebuke from Speaker John Bercow for accusing Mrs May of "sitting there laughing" while he was "talking about the rights that will be taken away from our young people" by Brexit, as reported by BBC.

EU's Barnier Says Britain Won't Get Transition Without Brexit Deal

Britain will not get a post-Brexit transition period unless the House of Commons ratifies the divorce package, the bloc’s chief negotiator said on Tuesday as parliament in London seemed to be moving towards voting the deal down again.

“Listening to debate in HouseofCommons: there seems to be a dangerous illusion that the UK can benefit from a transition in the absence of the Withdrawal Agreement,” Barnier said on Twitter. He continued,

Barnier posted the statement on Twitter.
Barnier posted the statement on Twitter.
(Photo: The Quint)

Voting Underway

The MPs are now voting. In January 202 MPs voted for the deal, according to The Guardian.

May's Brexit Deal Has Reached the End of the Road: Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal has reached the end of the road and Britain should leave the bloc without an agreement, former British foreign secretary and leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson said on Tuesday, 12 March, reported Reuters.

May faced an uphill struggle to win support for her Brexit deal ahead of a vote on Tuesday, as she failed to win over the main Brexit faction in her Conservatives and the Northern Irish party which props up her government said they would vote against it.

“This deal has now reached the end of the road. If it is rejected tonight I hope that it will be put to bed,” Johnson told parliament.

May in Chambers 'Studying Papers', Tweets Labour’s Mary Creagh

Labour’s Mary Creagh tweets, "Theresa May in chamber studying papers & avoiding eye contact with Hammond who has a thousand-yard stare. Funereal front bench."

May's Brexit Deal Rejected

UK parliament rejects PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal by 242 votes to 391, according to Reuters.

'Profoundly Regret' Loss, Says May

The British Prime Minister told the House of Commons that she "profoundly regrets" the defeat and that the lawmakers voted against her Brexit deal.

According to CNN, she said that she believes the best course for the UK is to leave the EU. "The deal we negotiated is the best and indeed the only deal available," she said as quoted by CNN.

"Leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law," she added.

EU Ready to Consider 'Reasoned' UK Request for Brexit Delay

EU ready to consider "reasoned" UK request for Brexit delay, said a spokeswoman.

European Council President Donald Tusk says the European Union is "disappointed" by tonight's Brexit result, and that it has done "all that is possible to reach an agreement" with the UK, according to CNN.

EU Warns of No-Deal Brexit, Says Cannot Offer More

The British Parliament's rejection of the Brexit agreement makes crashing out of the EU without a deal much more likely, the bloc said on Tuesday, as it warned there is no more it can do, AFP reported.

Senior EU officials lined up to voice regret at the result, and to hammer home the message that Brussels would not make any further concessions to help May win over recalcitrant MPs.

If Parliament fails to approve an accord, the UK will crash out of the bloc without a deal on 29 March – unless a delay is agreed, something the EU said it would be willing to consider.

A spokesman for Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said he regretted the result, but warned that from Brussels' viewpoint "it is difficult to see what more we can do".

EU ambassadors will meet in Brussels on Wednesday, 13 March, morning to assess the vote, the bloc's contingency plans – and to discuss whether to grant a delay to Brexit if London asks for one.

Jeremy Corbyn Calls For General Election

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded a general election after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated by the lawmakers in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 13 March. However, he did not mention a second referendum.

He also pledged, as per The Guardian, that his party would vote against a no-deal Brexit.

“The prime minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her. It’s time that we have a general election and the people can choose who their government should be," he said in the House of Commons.

(Photo: The Quint)

Pound Rises Against the Dollar as MPs Expected to Vote Against No-Deal Brexit

Sterling strengthened against the dollar amidst expectations that the vote later today will rule out a no-deal Brexit, Reuters reported. A no-deal Brexit would be the most chaotic outcome for Britain, potentially leading to food and supply shortages.

Boris Johnson Calls Free Vote on No Deal Brexit 'Absurd'

Former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, on British talk show LBC, called the free vote in Parliament later tonight “absurd”. A free vote means that MPs will not have to vote according to their party line, but vote according to their conscience.

DUP Calls Ruling Out No-Deal Brexit a 'Nonsense Idea'

Hardline Eurosceptics have condemned the notion of voting to prevent a no-deal Brexit in any circumstances. Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Nigel Dodds told BBC Radio Ulster, as reported by The Guardian,

(Photo: The Quint)

The other camp, comprising a number Conservative, Labour and Independent MPs, argue that the costs of a no-deal Brexit are too high to risk, as it could result in food and supply shortages across the UK.

The MPs are widely expected to vote against a no-deal Brexit.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Says No Indication EU Will Refuse Extension of Article 50

Responding to an MP who contended that the debate tonight ought to be about the choice between no-deal Brexit or a revocation of Article 50 altogether, Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Stalmer said that in his talks with EU leaders, he had no indication that EU would refuse an extension of Article 50, adding, “Quite the opposite, in fact.” Stalmer suggested that the choice presented by the opposition MP was not accurate.

Greens MP Mocks Prospect of No-Deal Brexit

Greens MP Caroline Lucas says a no-deal Brexit would be so calamitous for the UK that it would be the action of a “rogue state”. Deriding the Hard Brexiteers’ contention that taking a no-deal Brexit off the table would increase UK’s bargaining power with EU, she says:

(Photo: The Quint)

Also Read : With Brexit Deal Down, UK Lawmakers Have Two Choices

MPs Vote on Amendment A

The House of Commons is voting on Amendment A, which would rule out a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances.

MPs Vote Out No-Deal Brexit

The UK Parliament rejects no-deal Brexit. The British PM has been defeated by four votes, because MPs have backed the Spelman amendment ruling out a no-deal Brexit for good by 312 votes to 308.

Theresa May's Statement

British government proposes new Brexit deal vote by 20 March. Meanwhile, British PM Theresa May said Britain could face lengthy Brexit delay.

She said, "The motion we will table [tomorrow] will set out the fundamental choice facing this house. If the house finds a way in the coming days to support a deal, it would allow the government to seek a short limited technical extension to article 50 to provide time to pass the necessary legislation and ratify the agreement we have reached with the EU.”

But let me be clear, such a short technical extension is only likely to be on offer if we have a deal in place.Therefore, the house has to understand and accept that, if it is not willing to support a deal in the coming days, and as it is not willing to support leaving without a deal on 29 March, then it is suggesting that there will need to be a much longer extension to article 50. Such an extension would undoubtedly require the United Kingdom to hold European parliament elections in May 2019.
Theresa May

“I do not think that would be the right outcome. But the house needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken," as reported by The Guardian.

DWP Minister Sarah Newton Resigns

Sarah Newton resigned as minister for disabled people in the work and pensions department on Thursday, 14 March, as she voted against the Tory whip in the final vote and in favour of the amended motion, that ruled out a no-deal Brexit, reports The Guardian.

House Speaker Selects Amendment Calling for Second Referendum

The House Speaker John Bercow has selected, among four amendments, one that includes calling for a second referendum, to be debated and voted on. This amendment also calls for an extension of Article 50 in order to hold this second referendum.

The second amendment calls for a delay to Brexit in order to come up with a different approach, now that the House has rejected May’s deal (twice) and no-deal Brexit.

The third amendment calls for MPs to be empowered to take control of Brexit; and the fourth calls for a vote to cancel a third meaningful vote on May’s already-defeated second deal.

An amendment that sought to rule out a second referendum was not selected by Speaker Bercow.

UK Parliament Rejects Call for Second Referendum

UK lawmakers on Thursday, 14 March, rejected a move to support a second referendum on Brexit by 334 votes to 85, in what is being considered as a blow to campaigners for a so-called ‘People’s Vote’.

The cross-party proposal was the first time the House of Commons has held a formal vote on whether to endorse another referendum, Reuters reported.

UK MPs Reject Jeremy Corbyn's Amendment

British MPs on Thursday, 14 March, also rejected Jeremy Corbyn's amendment, which seeks to use the Brexit delay to find a majority in Parliament for a different Brexit approach, by 318 votes to 302, as per Reuters.

UK Parliament Votes to Ask EU to Delay Brexit by At Least 3 Months

British lawmakers have voted to delay Brexit, just 15 days before the country is scheduled to leave the European Union.

The House of Commons voted by 412-202 in favour of seeking to postpone the UK's departure for at least three months beyond the scheduled 29 March departure from the EU.

The motion commits Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government to seek an extension until June 30 if Parliament approves a UK-EU withdrawal deal next week.

(Source: AP)

May's Brexit Plan Not Viable: Labour Leader

The leader of Britain's Labour Party says Prime Minister Theresa May must accept that her Brexit withdrawal deal with the European Union is no longer viable, and neither is leaving the bloc without a deal.

Jeremy Corbyn said on Thursday, 14 March, that he believes that parliamentary support can be found for his opposition party's approach to Brexit, which favours continuing close ties with Europe.

He also says the Labour Party "reiterates" its support for a possible second referendum on Britain's EU membership as a "realistic" way to break the deadlock.

(Source: AP)

UK Speaker Rules out Third Vote on Theresa May's Deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May's crisis over an ongoing Brexit deadlock in the UK Parliament worsened on Monday, 18 March, as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow ruled out any attempt to hold a third vote on her withdrawal agreement, which has already been voted down by MPs twice before.

Bercow ruled that he would not allow another vote on the government motion if it remained "substantially the same" after it was defeated by a huge 230-vote margin in January and a smaller 149-vote margin last week.

He said parliamentary conventions dating back to 1604 meant MPs could not be asked to vote on precisely the same subject twice, indicating that he had allowed the second vote as the government had claimed some changes to the controversial Irish backstop clause offered an improved deal for Britain's exit from the European Union (EU).

"It is a necessary rule to ensure the sensible use of the House's time and the proper respect for the decisions which it takes," he said.

"If the government was to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same, nor substantially the same as disposed of by March 10, this would be entirely in order," he said, adding that the new motion could not be "the same proposition or substantially the same proposition".

Theresa May to Resign Before Next Phase of Brexit Negotiations

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has told Conservative Party lawmakers that she will quit once the country has left the European Union but she didn't set a date, reported news agency Associated Press.

Conservative lawmaker James Cartlidge told reporters as he left the 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers that May told the gathering "she would not remain in post for the next phase of the negotiations."

UK MPs Take Charge of Parliament for Historic Brexit Debate

In a parliamentary first for the UK, MPs took charge of the House of Commons business on Wednesday for a historic debate on the kind of Brexit that could command a majority to try and find a solution to the current deadlock over Britain's exit from the European Union, reported news agency PTI.

In a major blow to Theresa May, MPs had voted through the debate earlier this week to seize control of the business of the House away from the government and set a new precedent in order to weigh up alternatives to the British Prime Minister's twice-defeated EU divorce bill through a set of "indicative" non-binding votes.

She faced further humiliation on Wednesday as the MPs' motion passed with 331 to 287 votes – a majority of 44 – setting the stage for votes on a series of Brexit alternatives later in the day.

The EU has given May until 12 April to propose a different way forward if her divorce bill does not clear the UK Parliament hurdle.

No Brexit alternative Gets Parliament Majority

British lawmakers have voted on eight different possible Brexit options, but none received the majority support that would clarify the UK's course, news agency AP reported.

Parliament is trying to find an alternative to Prime Minister Theresa May's twice-rejected EU divorce deal. The strongest support was for a plan to stay in a customs union with the bloc after Brexit, which was defeated by eight votes: 272-264.

UK Govt Plans Third Brexit Deal Vote on Friday

Britain's government said it intended to hold a third parliamentary vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal on Friday but was awaiting the go-ahead from House of Commons speaker.

“We recognise that any motion brought forward tomorrow will need to be compliant with the speaker's ruling and that discussion is ongoing,” Andrea Leadsom, who represents the government in parliament, told MPs.

“A motion will be tabled just as soon as possible and obviously by later today,” Leadsom said Thursday.

UK Parliament Rejects Theresa May’s Brexit Deal for a Third Time

Britain’s government rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Friday, 29 March, for a third time. The House of Commons voted 286-344 against the withdrawal agreement struck between May and the EU.

It follows defeats by even wider margins in January and March, and leaves the government's blueprint for exiting the bloc in tatters.

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