British lawmakers reject four Brexit alternatives

Britain expected to leave EU on April 12 without a deal, after lawmakers reject four alternatives to the government's Brexit plan.

Ben Ariel,

British parliament
British parliament
iStock

British lawmakers on Monday night rejected four alternatives to the government's Brexit plan, The Associated Press reports.

The narrowest defeat - 276 votes to 273 - was for a plan to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, guaranteeing smooth and tariff-free trade in goods. A motion that went further, calling for Britain to stay in the EU's borderless single market for both goods and services, was defeated 282-261.

A third proposal calling for any Brexit deal Britain strikes with the EU to be put to a public referendum was defeated 292-280.

The fourth, which would let Britain cancel Brexit if it came within two days of crashing out of the bloc without a deal, fell by a wider margin, 292-191.

Brexit minister Steven Barclay said after the results were announced that the default position was still that Britain would leave the EU on April 12 without a deal, the nightmare scenario for many international businesses.

"The only option is to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal," Barclay told parliament, according to Reuters.

He hinted that Prime Minister Theresa May could put her deal to a fourth vote this week in the hope of securing an orderly exit before European elections are held from May 23 onwards.

"If the house were to agree a deal this week, it would still be possible to avoid holding European parliamentary elections," Barclay said.

Monday’s vote came three days after British lawmakers on Friday rejected the government's Brexit deal for a third time.

The House of Commons voted 286-344 against the withdrawal agreement struck between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU, rebuffing her plea to "put aside self and party" and "accept the responsibility given to us by the British people" to deliver Brexit.

May's deal was voted down on Friday even after she promised to quit earlier this week if lawmakers approved the agreement and let Britain leave the EU on schedule.

May has summoned her Cabinet for a marathon meeting Tuesday to thrash out the options. The prime minister, who is renowned for her dogged determination, could try to bring her Brexit agreement back for a fourth time later this week.




top