Britain’s Parliament has voted to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement for the third time, voting 344 to 286, apparently ending what has been a bitter political battle.
May had split her withdrawal deal into two parts, with the Political Declaration withdrawn from the vote, partly to satisfy the rules outlined by the Speaker of the House of Commons that a motion cannot be returned to the House for a vote after suffering a defeat without substantial changes to the motion.
Many hard Brexit Members of Parliament voted with the Government, fearing that they could see a long extension to Brexit and that might lead to never seeing Brexit at all. May separated her deal and offered to resign to generate votes for her deal. She managed to reduce the numbers against her deal from 230 in January to 58 today.
Following today’s vote the House of Commons will again take indicative votes on Monday, 1 April and try to find a consensus within Parliament. It is likely that the United Kingdom will now have to look for a longer extension from the European Union.
Following the vote May told the House, “I think it should be a matter of profound regret to everyone in this House that once again we have been unable to support leaving the European Union in an orderly fashion.”
Nevertheless, May apparently left the door open to returning her deal for a fourth time to Parliament next week when she said, “This government will continue to press the case for the orderly Brexit that the result of the referendum demands.”
In Europe the response was swift; just minutes after the vote Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, tweeted, “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.”