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Brexit: Parliament votes down May's deal for a third time

Posted at 10:51 AM, Mar 29, 2019

UK lawmakers rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, likely killing it off for good and plunging the country further into political uncertainty.

The defeat of the Prime Minister's withdrawal agreement by 344 votes to 286 came on the same day that Britain was originally supposed to leave the European Union, and left the path forward on Brexit unclear.

The rejection of May's plan raises the chances of further delays to Brexit, or of Britain crashing out of Europe with no deal on the new deadline of April 12.

May had offered to resign if Parliament passed her deal, but ultimately she was unable to persuade enough MPs to back a plan they had resoundingly rejected in two previous votes.

It may now rest on British lawmakers to find a way out of the impasse when they run a second vote on alternatives to May's deal on Monday.

In a statement following the vote, May described the implications of the result as "grave" and said she feared "we are reaching the limits of this process in the House," a suggestion that she could be considering calling a general election to resolve the Parliamentary impasse on Brexit.

"On Monday, this House will continue the process to see if there is a stable majority for a particular alternative version of our future relationship with the EU," May told the House of Commons.

"This House has rejected no deal. It has rejected no Brexit. On Wednesday it rejected all the variations of the deal on the table. And today it has rejected approving the Withdrawal Agreement alone and continuing a process on the future."

The result prompted Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, to call for an emergency EU summit on April 10.

A European Commission spokesman told CNN that it regretted the result of the vote and was "now fully prepared for a 'no-deal' scenario at midnight on 12 April."

"The EU will remain united. The benefits of the withdrawal agreement, including a transition period, will in no circumstances be replicated in a 'no-deal' scenario. Sectoral mini-deals are not an option."

Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn once again called for a general election after the deal's third defeat.

"On Monday this House has the chance ... the responsibility to find a majority for a better deal for all the people of this country," Corbyn said.

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