Brexit Deal Defeated: May’s Deal Voted Down, Again
After years of dealings, debates and delays, British parliament has once again voted down May’s divorce deal.
The House of Commons has voted against the deal just a day after May secured new “legally binding” assurances from the European Union.
The ‘meaningful vote’ crushed May's exit deal 391 to 242 meaning the UK will not leave the bloc of nations on the 29th of March with a deal.
This result was expected from political commentators, who thought it unlikely May would recover after her last deal was voted down by Commons by a whopping 230 votes.
Lawmakers will now vote on leaving without a deal on Wednesday local time. It’s widely expected this option will also be voted down as it carries with it a number of social, economic and political uncertainties, namely the issue of the ‘Irish Backstop’ -- the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
If Wednesday’s vote is quashed, politicians will return to the House of Commons on Thursday for a third round of voting. This time, they will need to decide whether to extend Article 50 -- the legal process member states must take when leaving the EU.
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The parliamentary opposition is likely to ramp-up its already rabid calls for a second referendum on the decision to leave. European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed months ago that Article 50 could be extended.
In February this year, Tusk cast doubt on the UK's Brexit deal and said extending the article would be a "rational solution".
One thing's for certain -- Theresa May's battle to secure Brexit is far from over.
This result comes after May negotiated a late-minute addition to the Brexit deal. She met with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg on Monday, local time. The pair agreed on "legally binding commitments" that would prevent the European Union from enforcing a permanent border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The decision didn't change any of the wording in the current deal but was a separate addition to the document.
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, May’s defacto deputy, detailed the new deal to parliament on Monday.
“The EU cannot try to trap the UK in the backstop indefinitely, and that doing so would be an explicit breach of the legally binding commitments that both sides have agreed,” Lidington said.
The new set of agreements about the Backstop will be used until an alternative agreement will replace it by December 2020.
Juncker also confirmed on Monday local time, the European Union would not engage in any further negotiations on Brexit.
Contact Siobhan at skenna @networkten.com.au