Vote Against Brexit Deal Sends Process Into 'Chaos'

No-confidence vote now planned for Wednesday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 15, 2019 2:21 PM CST
Vote Against Brexit Deal Sends Process Into 'Chaos'
Leavers display banners opposite the Houses of Parliament to protest against the Brexit-Deal in London, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

British lawmakers on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal with the European Union, plunging the Brexit process into chaos, the AP reports. The 432-202 vote in the House of Commons was widely expected but still devastating for May, whose fragile leadership is now under siege. Lawmakers finally got their chance to say yes or no to May's deal after more than two years of political upheaval—and said no. It was the biggest defeat for a government in the House of Commons in more than a century. The vote means further turmoil for British politics only 10 weeks before the country is due to leave the EU on March 29. It is not clear if it will push the government toward an abrupt "no-deal" break with the EU, nudge it toward a softer departure, trigger a new election, or pave the way for a second referendum that could reverse Britain's decision to leave. Parliament will hold a no-confidence vote in the government Wednesday.

The Brexit deal was doomed by deep opposition from both sides of the divide over UK's place in the bloc. Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal will leave Britain bound indefinitely to EU rules, while pro-EU politicians favor an even closer economic relationship with Europe. The government and opposition parties ordered lawmakers to cancel all other plans to be on hand for the crucial vote. Labour legislator Tulip Siddiq delayed the scheduled cesarean birth of her son so she could attend, arriving in a wheelchair. Parliament has given May until Monday to come up with a new proposal. So far, May has refused publicly to speculate on a possible "Plan B." Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, tweeted that he noted "with regret" the outcome of the vote, adding, "I urge the #UK to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up."

(More Brexit stories.)

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