UK Parliament rejects alternatives to May's Brexit deal

Muriel Colon
April 2, 2019

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves following a Sunday church service on March 31, 2019, in Maidenhead, England.

The Prime Minister and her senior ministers will take stock after MPs again failed to find a majority for a series of alternatives to her Brexit deal.

The Cabinet will hold a five-hour meeting to discuss the result tomorrow morning and MPs have until April 12 to accept a Brexit deal.

The process was launched after MPs voted to take control of the Brexit agenda from the government after repeatedly defeating May's deal.

Refining them down to four, backbenchers voted again on Monday, hoping to find one solution that majority could agree on.

European Union leaders have called an emergency summit on April 10 and have warned that unless Britain sets out what it wants to do, it risks severing ties with its largest trading bloc two days later with no deal at all.

But European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said the votes meant "a hard Brexit becomes almost inevitable".

"If it is good enough for the Prime Minister to have three chances at her deal then I suggest that possibly the House should have a chance to consider again the options that we had before us today, in a debate on Wednesday, so that the House can succeed where the Prime Minister has failed, in presenting a credible economic relationship with Europe for the future that prevents us crashing out with no deal".

Britain voted by 52 percent to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum, but the process has been mired in divisions over the terms of the divorce and what kind of future ties to seek.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's government should have said in 2017 that a softer Brexit was inevitable after it lost its parliamentary majority in an election, the chief enforcer of her Conservative Party in parliament said.

The failure of any option to gain a majority in the Commons left the United Kingdom no clearer about its direction with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on April 12.

"The PM made it clear that there was a need to bring the country back together after the Brexit vote and that is what they (the government) are working to achieve", he said.

The second option, dubbed "Common Market 2.0", would accept May's divorce terms but require her to negotiate a new European Union customs arrangement and membership of the European Union single market.

North Norfolk Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb had voted for a common market, and a customs union.

Some 280 MPs voted in favour of a second referendum but 292 voted against.

Britain had been due to leave the European Union on March 29 but the political deadlock in London forced May to ask the bloc for a delay.

"I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise", an emotional Boles told parliament. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise.

Announcing his decision to quit the Tory benches, Mr Boles said he would now sit as an independent progressive conservative.

To be granted a further postponement the Government will have to set out what goal it would achieve and it will nearly certainly involve taking part in the European elections.

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