BREXIT: The Brexit deal of Theresa May has been left in tatters, after another defeat in the House of Commons, 17 days before Uk is due to leave
Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been left in tatters after it suffered a second resounding defeat in the Commons – just 17 days before the UK is due to leave the European Union. She was defeated by a majority of 149 votes after 391 MPs voted against her deal and just 242 voting in May’s support. There were 75 Tory rebels as well as all 10 DUP MPs, with just three Labour MPs backing the deal.
The writing was on the wall for the Prime Minister this morning when the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said the legal risk on her withdrawal agreement remains unchanged. Mrs May said she ‘profoundly regrets the decision this House has taken tonight’. ‘I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is the UK leaves the European Union in orderly fashion with a deal,’ she said. ‘And that the deal we have negotiated is the best and indeed only deal available.’
Following the huge defeat, Mrs May told the Commons that she will grant a free vote to Tory MPs in a vote tomorrow on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal on 29 March. The motion will say that the Commons declines to leave the EU without a deal. If the Commons declines to approve a no-deal Brexit, a vote on extending Article 50 will take place on Thursday.
It was the second humiliating defeat for the Prime Minister who suffered the biggest parliamentary defeat ever in January when her Brexit deal was rejected by a majority of 230 votes. Mrs May said earlier today in Parliament that there’s a danger Brexit could ‘be lost’ if her revised deal doesn’t pass.
But MP’s slammed her last-ditch attempts to change her deal, saying ‘nothing has changed’. European Council president Donald Tusk said: ‘On the EU side we have done all that is possible to reach an agreement. Given the additional assurances provided by the EU in December, January and yesterday, it is difficult to see what more we can do.
‘If there is a solution to the current impasse, it can only be found in London. ‘The EU, for its part, continues to stand by the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, which serves to prevent a hard border in Ireland and preserve the integrity of the single market unless and until alternative arrangements can be found.’
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said that ‘This is getting ridiculous now, the Prime Minister keeps flogging this dead horse of a deal. ‘We could have all voted on this in November, rejected it and then had time to negotiate a proper deal. She does not listen, she does not work with people, she does not show any leadership at all. It really is a mess.’
Independent Group MP Anna Soubry said she was very surprised at the size of the majority. She added: ‘But I just cannot understand why the Prime Minister is flogging this dead horse. ‘The Labour Party needs to stand up and fight for the only way we can break this colossal mess which is a people’s vote.
‘There is deadlock because MPs do not want to vote for something which will make their constituents poorer, only a people’s vote will solve this.’
But what happens now?
Now the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement has been defeated in the second ‘meaningful vote’, a further vote has been promised for Wednesday on whether the UK should leave without a deal. If the ‘no deal option’ is rejected, MPs could vote on Thursday on whether to delay UK’s exit from the EU – which is due just 17 days away, on 29 March. However, neither of these options will bring any clearer solution to what will happen.
May can request an extension from the EU, but the EU leaders have to agree for the UK to be allowed a delay. The PM said today there’s no guarantee the EU would offer an extension on Article 50 if her deal fails to get support tonight. If there’s a delay, Brexit negotiations could continue, but, Jean-Claude Juncker has warned the UK ‘there will be no third chance’ – which means this will be unlikely. A delay could also lead to May walking out, which would trigger a new election – although she has repeatedly promised to stay on until Brexit is done. MPs could also trigger a new vote of no confidence in the prime minister.
May also confirmed that there is no guarantee the EU would offer an extension on Article 50 if her deal fails to get support. She said ‘there’s no evidence’ the British people have changed their mind on Brexit and said: ‘Where will it end?… we have another referendum, and there’s a different result and then everybody says “let’s actually have a third one”.
May said in the long therm the UK could make a ‘success of no deal’, but there would be ‘significant economic shock in the short term’. She added it would have a big impact on ‘businesses and families’ and continued: ‘We could lose the security cooperation that helps keep us safe from crime, terrorism and other threats, and risk weakening support for our union.’
Jeremy Corbyn said in Parliament: ‘Literally nothing has changed… not a single word has changed.’