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After Brexit loss, European Council president Donald Tusk wonders about ‘positive solution’

British Prime Minister Theresa May should urgently clarify her next move, following the crushing loss in the UK Parliament, said President of European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2019 07:02 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International
Brussels
European Council President Donald Tusk holds a press conference after the European Council. (AFP)

Hours after British parliamentarians overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, President of the European Council Donald Tusk on Tuesday indirectly called on the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union.

Taking to his Twitter handle, Tusk said, “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”

He further said that the British Prime Minister should urgently clarify her next move, following the crushing loss in the UK Parliament.

Echoing similar sentiments, President of European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, urged the UK “to clarify its intentions as soon as possible”, while adding that “time is almost up”.

According to the withdrawal agreement, the UK is scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29, 2019, after which it will move into a 21-month long transitional period with the EU.

In a statement, Juncker elaborated, “I take note with regret of the outcome of the vote in the House of Commons this evening. On the EU side, the process of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement continues. The Withdrawal Agreement is a fair compromise and the best possible deal. It reduces the damage caused by Brexit for citizens and businesses across Europe. It is the only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

“The European Commission, and notably our Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, has invested enormous time and effort to negotiate the Withdrawal Agreement. We have shown creativity and flexibility throughout. I, together with President Tusk, have demonstrated goodwill again by offering additional clarifications and reassurances in an exchange of letters with Prime Minister May earlier this week,” he added.

Underlining that the vote of Brexit deal raised the risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, Juncker further said the European bloc did not want this type of situation, adding that “the European Commission will continue its contingency work to help ensure the EU is fully prepared.”

Earlier in the day, May suffered a humiliating defeat as her controversial Brexit deal plan, that allows the UK to leave the EU, was voted down by the MPs at the House of Commons by a resounding majority of 230. The deal was voted down by 432 votes to 202, the worst defeat for any sitting government in the UK. Around 118 Conservative Party MPs voted against the agreement, CNN reported.

Labour Party leader and Leader of Opposition in the UK Parliament, Jeremy Corbyn, tabled a no-confidence motion against May that is expected to be heard at the House of Commons on Wednesday.

After her deal was rejected by the UK Parliament, May said that she would hold talks with other parties on finding an ultimate resolution that would be acceptable to all.

For long, May has been pushing for the Brexit deal to be accepted by the UK Parliament. She has repeatedly stated that “this is a Brexit that delivers.”

May, who dismissed the prospects of a second Brexit referendum, also survived a previously held no-confidence motion initiated by her disgruntled lawmakers of the Conservative Party over her handling of the Brexit negotiations.

The British Prime Minister made a whirlwind trip to the EU, to discuss the issues concerning the deal. However, the European bloc reiterated time and again that the withdrawal agreement will not be renegotiated.

First Published: Jan 16, 2019 06:51 IST