Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Brexit uncertainty mounts as PM May crashes to huge defeat

Brexit uncertainty mounts as PM May crashes to huge defeat

The probability is that MPs will reject the option of leaving the bloc without a deal, and that a further vote on delaying Brexit will take place.

Lawmakers will now vote at 1900 GMT on Wednesday on whether Britain should quit the world's biggest trading bloc without a deal, a scenario that business leaders warn would bring chaos to markets and supply chains, and other critics say could cause shortages of food and medicines.

May said the government would not instruct her own party's lawmakers how to vote.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

The U.K. government announced its plans for the Irish borders, saying it wouldn't impose new checks, duties or controls on goods coming from European Union member Ireland into Northern Ireland.

"Does it wish to revoke Article 50?" she said, referring to the Brexit process.

But May's entreaty fell on deaf ears among lawmakers whose support she needs.

The main sticking point is the so-called Irish border backstop, an insurance policy aimed at avoiding controls on the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland after Brexit.

The European Research Group of pro-Brexit Conservatives, which has dozens of lawmakers as members, said the amendments "do not deliver 'legally binding changes"' to the withdrawal agreement, as the government promised.

The border has been open and unguarded for 20 years since the Good Friday agreement ended the armed conflict in Northern Ireland, but that status will be much more hard to maintain once Britain is no longer part of the EU. And no indication that Britain is any closer to knowing what it wants from Brexit.

"This regime is only temporary as we recognise that there are challenges associated with this approach, including the unmonitored flow of goods into the United Kingdom and the potential for exploitation of any new system", the government said in a statement". We have the withdrawal agreement, it is there.

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MPs have now done so, voting 391 to 242 against the deal in the House.

Typical of the exasperation felt in Brussels, one European Union diplomat said: "What credibility does she (May) have left?"

John Whittingdale, a Brexit-supporting Conservative lawmaker, said the attorney general's advice was "pretty terminal" for May's plan.

"The legal risk remains unchanged", Cox said. An opposition Labour Party spokesman said this meant she had "given up any pretence of leading the country".

"The EU has done everything it can to help get the withdrawal agreement over the line", he tweeted after Tuesday's result. "The government's strategy is now in tatters".

Other EU nations welcomed the overnight agreement, and urged British politicians to seize the chance to back the deal and ensure an orderly departure. "There is no alternative".

Post parliament vote, PM May assured that there will be another session to vote on No-deal exit followed by a session to vote on an extension of Article 50 tomorrow.

The stakes could hardly higher - and the future looks uncertain - after May failed for a second time to get Parliament to sign off on a divorce deal that was the culmination of two years of tortured negotiations. It is what you do with this second chance that counts.

"If there is a solution to the current impasse, it can only be found in London", it said, adding that "today's vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a "no-deal" Brexit".

The Unite union's assistant general secretary for manufacturing, Steve Turner, said: "Theresa May and her Government need to stop the economic vandalism which is threatening jobs and livelihoods by properly taking a no-deal Brexit off the table and securing tariff-free frictionless trade with Europe".

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