Theresa May loses crunch vote in another massive Brexit defeat

Now that British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit divorce deal for a second time, the country's planned March 29 departure from the bloc is an open question.

After MPs voted to take no deal off the table last night, Mrs May said she would hold another vote on her discredited deal on the eve of the European Union summit where leaders would decide on a British request to extend the deadline beyond March 29.

May wants to get an extension until June 30 - but only if she can get Parliament to back her Brexit deal in a third vote by March 20.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the European Commission, the EU's executive body, said any delay to Article 50 would require "the unanimous agreement of all 27 member states", citing the 27 other countries which make up the EU, minus the UK.

May had hoped that last-minute clarifications and additions to the deal's so-called Irish backstop would convince sceptical lawmakers to back it.

Stoke MP Ruth Smeeth, who was Labour deputy leader Tom Watson's parliamentary private secretary (PPS), has also resigned from her role after joining the rebels.

One, spearheaded by influential backbench MPs Oliver Letwin and Yvette Cooper, will seek to give the House of Commons "indicative votes" on a series of alternatives to the prime minister's agreement with the EU.

The success of Mrs May's Brextension motion looks to have made a no-deal exit on March 29 far less likely.

Following the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reiterated his support for a People's Vote.

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been voted down, again, this evening 391 votes to 242.

On the prospect of another referendum, Mr Trump said: "I don't think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people that won".

MPs have rejected an amendment which seeks to allow the House of Commons to decide what kind of Brexit deal should be negotiated by 314 votes to 312, majority two.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday said Brussels will not rework the painstakingly-negotiated withdrawal agreement.

Speaking after the defeats, May warned that if MPs can not find a majority for a deal in the next few days, Brexit will have to be delayed for much longer than the period of time now proposed.

Lawmakers also voted to rule out the idea of holding a second Brexit referendum - at least for now.

The government lost the vote by 321 votes to 278, forcing Mrs May to give MPs a vote on delaying Brexit tonight.

"So it'll either be a no-deal now, or a change of plan from London, of which we see no sign at the moment", the official added. "We can not serve our country by overturning a democratic decision of the British people", she said, hours after she had claimed a breakthrough in negotiations with the European Union to secure changes to the controversial Irish backstop to make it more acceptable to all sides of Parliament.

Pro-Brexit politicians in May's Tory party insist that the plan - known as the backstop - threatens to trap the United Kingdom inside the EU's trade regime forever, because it would be impossible for Britain to leave.

  • Eleanor Harrison