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.
After a special sitting of parliament, lawmakers voted 344-286 against May’s 585-page EU Withdrawal Agreement, agreed after two years of tortuous negotiations with the bloc.
Within minutes of the vote, European Council President and summit chair Donald Tusk said EU leaders would meet on April 10 to discuss Britain’s departure from the bloc.
The EU executive, the Commission, said that “a ‘no-deal’ scenario on 12 April is now a likely scenario”,
May had told parliament the vote was the last opportunity to ensure Brexit would take place. She cautioned that if the deal failed, then any further delay to Brexit would probably be a long one beyond April 12.
“I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House,” May told parliament after the defeat. “The implications of the House’s decision are grave.”
“The legal default now is that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on 12th April,” she said.
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.