Mehr News Agency – Lawmakers in the UK House rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, paving the way for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union without a deal.
According to the Reuters, the decision to reject a stripped-down version of May’s divorce deal has left it totally unclear how, when or even whether Britain will leave the EU, and plunges the three-year Brexit crisis to a deeper level of uncertainty.
Within minutes of the vote – which took place as thousands of Brexit supporters protested outside parliament – European Council President Donald Tusk said EU leaders would meet on April 10 to discuss Britain’s departure from the bloc.
A succession of European leaders were quoted by Reuters as saying that there was a very real chance Britain would now leave without a deal, a scenario that businesses fear would cause chaos for the world’s fifth-biggest economy.
White House national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters that President Donald Trump sympathised with May, and restated that the United States was keen to sign a trade deal with Britain once it was no longer in the EU.
May had framed the vote as the last opportunity to ensure Britain actually left the EU, making a passionate plea to lawmakers to put aside party differences and strongly-held beliefs.
The UK prime minister has cautioned that any further delay to Brexit would probably be a long one beyond the current deadline, and would mean Britain holding elections to the European Parliament.
The British pound, which has been buoyed in recent weeks by hopes that the likelihood of an abrupt ‘no-deal’ Brexit is receding, fell half a percent after May lost, to as low as $1.2977, but then recovered some of its losses, Reuters added.
May had offered on Wednesday to resign if the deal passed, in a bid to win over eurosceptic rebels in her Conservative Party who support a more decisive break with the EU than the divorce her deal offers.
The vote leaves her Brexit strategy in tatters. With no majority in parliament for any Brexit option so far, it is unclear what May will now do. Options include asking the EU for a long delay, parliament forcing an election, or a “no-deal” exit.
Britain now has under two weeks to convince the 27 members of the EU that it has an alternative path out of the impasse, or see itself cast out of the bloc on April 12 with no deal on post-Brexit ties with its largest trading ally