Brexit faces lengthy delay as MPs defeat the deal yet again

PUBLISHED: 14:43 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 29 March 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in the House of Commons during a Brexit debate. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in the House of Commons during a Brexit debate. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

MPs have voted to reject Theresa May's Brexit deal in the House of Commons once again - as the crisis facing her government deepens.

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In the third vote in the Commons MPs voted by 344 to 286 against the deal as hundreds of Brexiteers staged a noisy demonstration outside on the day when the UK was due to leave the European Union.

The result of the crunch vote means that the UK has missed an EU deadline to secure an extension of the Brexit process and leave with a deal on May 22.

May now has until April 12 to go back to Brussels with new proposals and seek a longer extension to the negotiation process, or see the UK leave without a deal that day.

With a clear majority in the Commons against no-deal, and with MPs once more seizing control of the timetable on Monday, Mrs May said that the UK would have to find “an alternative way forward”.

This was “almost certain” to involve the UK having to stage elections to the European Parliament in May, she said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for May to step aside and for a general election to be held.

Corbyn said: “This is now the third time the prime minister’s deal has been rejected. When it was defeated the first time, the prime minister said it was clear this House does not support the deal.

MORE: How did your MP vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal?

MORE: Pro-Brexit protests arrive in Parliament Square

“Does she now finally accept this House does not support the deal? Because she seemed to indicate just now that she is going to return to this issue again.”

“On Monday, this House has the chance, and I say to all members, the responsibility to find a majority for a better deal for all the people of this country.

“The House has been clear this deal now has to change. There has to be an alternative found.

“If the prime minister can’t accept that then she must go. Not at an indeterminate date in the future, but now, so that we can decide the future of this country through a general election.”

Former Brexit minister Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the European Research Group, said it was time for Theresa May to quit.

He said: “This must be the final defeat for Theresa May’s deal.

“It’s finished. And we must move on.

“It has not passed. It will not pass. I regret to say it is time for Theresa May to follow through on her words and make way so that a new leader can deliver a Withdrawal Agreement which will be passed by parliament.

“This has been a tragic waste of time and energy for the country. We can waste no more.”

David Lammy, from the Best for Britain campaign, said this must be the last time the prime minister delivers her “botched deal before the House.”

“It is a damning indictment on our government that on the day originally scheduled for exit, the country is no nearer to a conclusion to this mess. “Theresa May’s deal has been rejected three times in a row now - and for good reason. It would make our country a rule-taker rather than a rule-maker and threatens to crush our public services.

“But it also betrays the country. Public opinion has shifted over the past three years and Britain has changed its mind. We cannot allow any deal, be it the prime minister’s or any other, to pass without the public being given the final say.”

Bridget Phillipson MP from the People’s Vote campaign said it was a decisive rejection of the deal.

“Our democracy and our country are now in a crisis that the leaders of both the TUC and the CBI describe as a national emergency.

“In these extraordinary circumstances, it is crucial that MPs from all sides who care about the national interest join together and mandate the government to ask for the longer extension needed to prevent further catastrophe.

“There is no version of Brexit that can meet the promises made in 2016, avoid deep and lasting damage to our country, or stop this crisis going on and on.

“Parliament has now had three chances to vote on this deal, but the British people are still waiting for their first.

“The right way forward for everyone is now to let the public decide our future with a new choice between supporting a Brexit deal negotiated with Europe or sticking with the deal we’ve already got inside Europe.”

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