UK’s May faces no-confidence vote after Brexit plan crushed

Sammy Wilson, Brexit spokesman with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, upon which May relies for her Commons majority, told the BBC his party would not be forced into backing the deal by fears over the border.

May postponed a vote before Christmas in the hope of winning over Parliament with new concessions from Brussels over the so-called backstop meant to ensure the post-Brexit Irish border stays open, but European Union leaders' letters of reassurance were treated with scorn in the House of Commons Monday.

"It could end up being the day that will lead to us leaving with no deal!" said 25-year-old Simon Fisher, who backs a swift and sharp break with the EU.

"This is a catastrophic defeat for this government", Corbyn said to Parliament. With a negotiated deal in ruins and the prospect of an economically devastating "hard Brexit" looming - meaning an abrupt exit from the European Union with no agreements in place on trade, customs, immigration and travel - no one has any clear idea what that might be.

But Varadkar added that if May changed her negotiating "red lines" as a result of the talks with British MPs then "the European position could also evolve", opening the possibility of a new Brexit deal involving a much closer post-Brexit relationship between the United Kingdom and EU.

During the debate, Corbyn said there is "no majority for this government's Brexit deal and there is no majority either for a no-deal scenario", which he said would be a "catastrophe". Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson welcomed the imminent demise of the deal and said he would support a no-deal divorce "with zeal and enthusiasm" once it has failed.

The Labour leader said: "The result of tonight's vote is the greatest defeat for a government since the 1920s in this House".

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox earlier told MPs that the Brexit deal "will have to return in much the same form and with much the same content".

The EU and British flags wave at the demonstrations area near the parliament building in London.

Almost three years later, they are still to form a majority consensus around any plan, with MPs criticising May's deal both for keeping Britain too closely tied to the European Union, and for not keeping it closer.

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With just over two months to go until the scheduled Brexit date of March 29, Britain is still bitterly divided over what should happen next and the only suspense over the vote is the scale of May's defeat.

She added May sees as her core goal delivering on what 17.4 million people voted for in the 2016 referendum when the majority backed leaving the EU "The prime minister remains committed to delivering on Brexit and we all need to now help her", added Leadsom. By Tuesday morning, some 30 lawmakers had signed up to that amendment, tabled by the Tory lawmaker Andrew Murrison - including Graham Brady, the influential head of the 1922 Committee of rank-and-file Tories.

"It's now up to the British government to say what the next stage is", he said.

"We have shown creativity and flexibility throughout", Juncker said. But critics said she was not budging from a deal that had alienated all sides of the debate. With that already proved by votes last week, opponents of the deal had said it risked May being defeated by too small a margin. Nothing about Tuesday's vote has altered that trajectory.

"She seems content with bringing something back to Parliament to vote on again, " Menon said.

Mrs May also beat Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to the punch by saying there would be time cleared for a no-confidence motion - before he had the chance to call it.

After the vote May invited all party leaders to a series of one-on-one meetings, to begin the same evening, to discuss a way forward for her Brexit deal.

British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal by an overwhelming margin Tuesday, sparking political chaos that could lead to a chaotic exit from the European Union, a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave - and even May's departure from office.

It's an optimistic and risky strategy, given the looming Brexit deadline.

  • Darren Santiago