UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal for a second time, no-deal looking more likely

Britain leaving the EU without a deal is looking more likely after lawmakers overwhelmingly voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday.

According to the UK parliament website, May’s Brexit deal was rejected by MPs for a second time, with 391 votes against and only 242 in favour.

May said she was “profoundly disappointed” that the deal had been rejected.

Details of no-deal policies will be published by the government on Wednesday morning. This will include information on tariffs on food imports and how checks will be handled at the Northern Ireland border.

May was forced to give MPs a free vote on whether Britain should leave the EU without a deal on Wednesday. This won’t prevent the UK leaving the EU in 17 days – as Article 50 has already been triggered – but it would put a third vote on the table.

If MPs reject a no-deal Brexit (which looks likely) then a third vote is expected to take place on whether Britain should delay leaving the EU and apply for an extension of Article 50. An extension of Article 50 would require approval from the leaders of the other 27 EU countries.

However, the EU has said it will not negotiate Brexit again, insisting the divorce deal won’t be revisited. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michael Barnier, said in a tweet that “‘no-deal’ preparations are now more important than ever before.”

European Council President Donald Tusk said that the EU was “disappointed” in the result after having done “all that is possible to reach an agreement” with the UK.

“Given the additional assurances provided by the EU in December, January and yesterday, it is difficult to see what more we can do. If there is a solution to the current impasse it can only be found in London,” Tusk said in a statement.

“With only 17 days left to 29 March, today’s vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. We will continue our no-deal preparations and ensure that we will be ready if such a scenario arises.”

One EU diplomat was quoted by Reuters as saying: “What credibility does she (May) have left? Why would EU leaders engage with her again after yet another failure? This really needs to end.”

The business response to MPs voting down the Government’s Brexit deal by 391 to 242

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the CBI, the UK’s premier business organisation, said:

“Enough is enough. This must be the last day of failed politics.

“A new approach is needed by all parties. Jobs and livelihoods depend on it.

“Extending Article 50 to close the door on a March no-deal is now urgent. It should be as short as realistically possible and backed by a clear plan.

“Conservatives must consign their red lines to history, while Labour must come to the table with a genuine commitment to solutions.

“It’s time for Parliament to stop this circus.”