- MPs reject PM’s deal a third time
- European Council President calls for a meeting as a result
- PM’s resignation could trigger an early election
UK MPs have for the third time in a row rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal by 344 to 286 votes. The defeat happens even after the PM offered to resign before time if the motion is passed.
The BBC reported on March 29, 2019, that Mrs. May stated the vote would have grave implications and that the legal default was that the UK would have to leave the EU on April 12, 2019. According to the Prime Minister, therefore, there would not be enough time to enable proper legislation to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Mrs. May told MPs:
“The implications of the house’s decision are grave […] I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this house.”
Not Enough to Secure a Majority Vote
Several pro-Brexit Conservative backbenchers who had earlier rejected the deal during the first two unsuccessful votes including the former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab switched sides to support the agreement. However, with the Labour party sticking to their guns and refusing to budge, the Democratic Unionist party’s 10 MPs determined they were not going to offer support, meaning there wasn’t enough for the Prime Minister to secure a majority vote.
As a result of the vote outcome, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has asked the Prime Minister to resign and trigger an early election. The European Council president has responded by calling for a council meeting via a Tweet that stated:
In view of the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I have decided to call a European Council on 10 April. #Brexit
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) March 29, 2019
An Alternative Way Forward
The vote outcome now means that the UK misses out on an EU deadline that would have secured them an extension of the Brexit Divorce process so they could leave with a deal on May 2, 2019.
The Prime Minister has now got until April 12, 2019, to secure a longer extension to the negotiation process to avoid a no-deal Brexit on that date. As BR reported recently, the UK now has to find an alternative way forward since the Commons have a clear majority in their deal against a no-deal Brexit with the same MPs planning to hold more votes on the alternative plans they failed to agree on next Monday.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been a woman under immense pressure to reign lately, has promised to debate alternatives to the political deceleration next week without giving any clue as to what her next plan would be. She stated:
“This government will continue to press for the orderly Brexit that the result of the referendum demands.”
The MPs plan to hold some indicative votes next Monday, a process that was initiated by a cross-party group of backbenchers under the guardianship of Oliver Letwin as they try to find a majority in the House of Commons to get the country out of the impasse.