The UK parliament has again rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal after she secured legally binding assurances from Brussels on the controversial Irish ‘backstop’ – but the changes weren’t enough to placate lawmakers.
May’s deal was defeated 391 to 242 on Tuesday evening and will be followed on Wednesday by a debate and vote in the House of Commons on the prospect of the UK leaving the EU with “no deal” in place – which MPs are also expected to reject.
May, who said that she “profoundly rejects” the decision taken by the house, added that Tory MPs will be given a free vote on the no-deal motion on Wednesday. She told parliament that she has struggled with the need to honor the 2016 Brexit referendum results while also getting a good deal from Brussels, adding that if MPs vote to leave with no deal, that will become official government policy.
After the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused May of running down the clock on Brexit and said he will try to get MPs to back a Labour plan. He also said it was now “time for a general election.”
A spokesperson for European Council President Donald Tusk said he “regretted the outcome” of the Tuesday vote and said the EU had “done all that is possible” to reach an agreement. “It is difficult to see what more we can do,” the statement said, adding that the latest vote “significantly increased” the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit.
Tusk also said the EU would consider a “reasoned request” from London for an extension of article 50, but only with “credible justification.”