Brexit: UK’s Theresa May loses crucial vote on EU divorce deal | UK News

British MPs have rejected the government’s Brexit divorce deal, handing Prime Minister Theresa May a fresh defeat in her battle to steer the UK out of the European Union.

MPs voted by 344 to 286 on Friday against the withdrawal agreement, a stripped-down version of the twice-defeated deal that May agreed with the EU.

The result means that the UK is now set to leave the bloc on April 12 without a deal, unless the government negotiates an extension to the UK’s departure date with Brussels.

Addressing parliament after the vote, May said it was a matter of “profound regret” that the deal failed and that the “implications of this decision are grave”, noting that the UK would now leave the European bloc on April 12 by legal default.

“I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House,” May said. “This House has rejected no deal. It has rejected no Brexit. On Wednesday it rejected all the variations of the deal on the table. And today it has rejected approving the withdrawal agreement alone and continuing a process on the future.”

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour party, said the prime minister should call a general election as a way to break the Brexit deadlock.

Following the vote, European Council President Donald Tusk said that EU leaders would meet on April 10 to discuss Brexit.

“In view of the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I have decided to call a European Council on April 10. Brexit,” Tusk said.

The European Commission said a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on April 12 was now “likely”.

“The Commission regrets the negative vote in the House of Commons today,” a spokesman said, adding that the EU has given London until April 12 to inform it of the next steps. “It will be for the UK to indicate the way forward before that date.”

“A ‘no-deal’ scenario on April 12 is now a likely scenario. The EU… is now fully prepared for a “no-deal” scenario at midnight on April 12.”

Next steps

This week, parliament held a series of non-binding votes on a number of alternative Brexit plans, in an attempt to see a majority could be found for a new approach to Brexit. Of the eight plans put to the vote, none won majority support.

May said legislators would continue on Monday to try and “see if there is a stable majority for a particular alternative version of our future relationship with the EU,” adding that any plan would also require MPs to back the withdrawal agreement.

Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat MP, told Al Jazeera that while Theresa May’s deal is “as dead as a dodo”, he was confidient parliament would take the initiative on breaking the Brexit impasse next week.

“What happens on Monday is that process of parliament taking control of this continues,” he said. “We have a day booked, where what I expect to happen is that some of the options that were debated earlier in the week will be refined, perhaps joined together, and I think we will see a majority potentially emerge around one of those options.”

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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