British MPs reject May’s revised Brexit deal by 391 votes to 242

British MPs reject May’s revised Brexit deal by 391 votes to 242

Latest: British MPs have rejected Theresa May’s revised Brexit deal by 391 to 242, a majority of 149.

This evening's vote was the second time the British Prime Minister's withdrawal agreement has been decided on in the House of Commons.

Although the 149 margin was reduced from the record 230-vote defeat of the first “meaningful vote” in January, Mrs May was left far adrift from a majority with just 17 days to go to the scheduled date of Brexit on March 29.

The division list showed 235 Conservative MPs voted for the deal, three Labour and four independents.

It added 75 Conservative MPs voted against along with 238 Labour, 35 SNP, 11 Liberal Democrats, 10 DUP, four Plaid Cymru, 17 Independents and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

MPs are now due to vote tomorrow on whether they are willing for the UK to leave the EU without a deal on March 29.

If they reject no-deal as most Westminster observers expect, a third vote will follow – probably on Thursday – on authorising Mrs May to request an extension of the two-year Article 50 negotiation process.

It is expected that a plan for the Irish border in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as well as the no-deal tariff schedule, will be published tomorrow morning.

British MPs reject May’s revised Brexit deal by 391 votes to 242

An extension requires the unanimous agreement of all 27 remaining member states, and Mr Juncker has warned that it cannot stretch beyond May 23 unless the UK takes part in the European Parliament elections starting on that date.

European Commission president Mr Juncker had already warned that if MPs turned down the package agreed in Strasbourg on Monday, there would be “no third chance” to renegotiate.

Mrs May said that the choices facing the UK were “unenviable”, but because of the rejection of her deal, “they are choices that must be faced”.

She said she “profoundly regrets the decision this House has taken tonight” and that she continues to believe "that by far the best outcome is the UK leaves the European Union in orderly fashion with a deal".

“And that the deal we have negotiated is the best and indeed only deal available.”

Mrs May stressed her responsibilities for Northern Ireland, where Stormont is still suspended.

She said: “I’m conscious of my duties as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the potential damage to the union that leaving without a deal could do, when one part of our country is without a devolved government.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Commons: “After three months of running down the clock the Prime Minister has, despite very extensive delays, achieved not a single change to the Withdrawal Agreement.

“Not one single word has changed. In terms of the substance, literally, nothing has changed.”

Responding to tonight's defeat for the British PM, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the impasse can only be solved by the UK.

In a tweet he said: "The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line. The impasse can only be solved in the #UK. Our “no-deal” preparations are now more important than ever before."

The European Parliament's Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said that instead of taking back control, the UK "spiralled out of control".

He wrote on Twitter: "Brexit was about taking back control, instead the UK spiralled out of control. Only cross-party cooperation putting Country first, can end this mess. If this happens we will fully engage. #BrexitDeal".

British MPs due to vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal

British MPs will decide shortly whether to back Theresa May's Brexit deal two months after it suffered the biggest UK government defeat in history.

Sky News analysis suggests the British Prime Minister's agreement will be defeated by over 100 votes.

The DUP and some Conservatives say they will not support it because they still have concerns over the Irish backstop.

British MPs reject May’s revised Brexit deal by 391 votes to 242

Earlier, former Brexit secretary Boris Johnson said Mrs May and Attorney General had merely sowed an “apron of fig leaves” to cover the embarrassment of the Brexit deal.

He warned that her deal has "reached the end of the road" as he argued the UK should leave the EU without an agreement.

The Conservative former Cabinet minister said the British Prime Minister's deal should be "put to bed" if it is rejected by MPs and instead the Government should "face up to the reality" of the situation.

Mr Johnson claimed the UK would then be left with the choice to either pursue a no-deal Brexit despite its "short-term" difficulties or risk "humiliation" by accepting further changes that limit the "disruption" but are to the benefit of the EU.

His intervention came hours after Attorney General Geoffrey Cox insisted the "entire continent of Europe" would be allowed to move on if MPs backed the Brexit deal.

Mr Cox faced Eurosceptic opposition as he made a last-ditch plea in the Commons while answering questions about his legal advice on the effect of changes secured by the Prime Minister.

The British Government's chief legal adviser said MPs have a "political decision" to make on the deal after confirming the changes reduce the risk the UK could be trapped in the Northern Ireland backstop - although this outcome has not been entirely removed.

The DUP's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said it was “very likely” that there will be “probably successful” attempts to delay Brexit if Mrs May's deal is rejected.

He told Sky News: “It looks very likely that on Thursday if the vote doesn’t go through tonight, there will be attempts in the House and probably successful attempts in the House to extend the time in which we stay within the EU.”

Mr Wilson said if an extension of Article 50 was voted through the Commons that “after the end of June we will have to leave the EU because we have not participated in the European elections”.

The DUP indicated that the party will not support Mrs May’s deal saying in a statement “that sufficient progress has not been achieved at this time”.

PA & Digital Desk

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