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‘Grave’ situation, says British PM Theresa May after third Brexit defeat

Sitting in an extraordinary session in the House of Commons, MPs rejected the text negotiated with European leaders last year by 344 votes to 286.

world Updated: Mar 29, 2019 21:32 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Brexit,no brexit deal,Brexit deal
British MPs on Friday rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal for leaving the European Union for a third time, raising the spectre of a “no deal” exit or a long delay to the process.(Reuters File Photo)

Faced with the House of Commons rejecting the EU withdrawal agreement for the third time on Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to reach the end of her bid to deliver Brexit, calling the situation ‘grave’ that could lead to another general election.

After the agreement was rejected by 344 votes to 286, May said: “The implications of the House’s decision are grave. The legal default now is that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on 12 April”.

“In just 14 days’ time. This is not enough time to agree, legislate for and ratify a deal, and yet the House has been clear it will not permit leaving without a deal…It is also almost certain to involve the UK being required to hold European Parliamentary elections”.

In Brussels, European Council president Donald Tusk reacted by calling an emergency session of the council on April 10, two days before the UK is to leave the EU according to the new timetable decided last week.

May told the house: “I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House. 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”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded by calling on May to step down and trigger a general election, while rebel Conservative MP Steve Baker also demanded that she resign.

He said: “This must be the final defeat for Theresa May’s deal. It has not passed. It will not pass. I regret to say it is time for Theresa May to follow through on her words and make way so that a new leader can deliver a withdrawal agreement which will be passed by parliament.”

After the vote, Virendra Sharma, senior Labour MP, said, “Today’s result is one of common sense, the Prime Minister’s deal is bad for Britain and bad for the people of Britain. Again Parliament has overwhelmingly rejected the deal which delivers nothing but risk for jobs and businesses across the country”.

“Two years ago I voted against triggering Article 50 because I believed the process was being rushed and could only lead to disaster. The Government did not seek cross-party consensus but instead tried to bully and bribe Parliament into delivering their hard and destructive Brexit”.

“I still know what I believe to be right, we should revoke Article 50 and we should instead focus on working with our neighbours in Europe, and pursuing an internationalist and collaborative foreign policy for the benefit of everyone. The time has come to end this failed experiment.”

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 20:24 IST