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UK Parliament To Vote On Delaying EU Exit, Just Hours After Ruling Out A No-Deal Brexit

Latest News With The Brexit Deal MPs will vote later on whether to ask the EU for permission to delay Brexit beyond the March 29 departure date. It comes...

Latest News With The Brexit Deal

MPs will vote later on whether to ask the EU for permission to delay Brexit beyond the March 29 departure date. It comes after MPs voted on Wednesday evening to reject a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances.

Prime Minister Theresa May could also make a third attempt to get her EU withdrawal deal through Parliament in the next few days. The EU said there were two ways the UK could leave – with or without a deal, adding it was ready for either outcome.

The UK government said there could be a short delay to Brexit – or a much longer one – depending on whether MPs backed the prime minister’s existing withdrawal deal, which has been agreed with the EU, by March 20. If MPs approve May’s deal before next week’s EU summit in Brussels, then the extension will be until 30 June.

However, the PM warned that if the deal – which has twice been rejected by overwhelming majorities – is not approved, a longer extension will be needed, requiring the UK to take part in elections for the European Parliament in May. “I do not think that would be the right outcome,” said May, “but the House needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken.”

In a night of high drama on Wednesday, the Commons first voted on an amendment to reject the UK exiting the EU without a deal by a margin of four. Then, in another vote, they reinforced that decision by 321 to 278, a majority of 43.

That vote was on a motion that originally said the UK should not leave the EU without a deal, specifically on March 29, but with the option of a no-deal Brexit at any other time. It had been the government’s motion.

The government had wanted to keep control of the Brexit process and keep no-deal on the table, so they ordered Conservative MPs to vote against their own motion. That tactic failed. Government ministers defied those orders and there were claims May had lost control of her party.

Thirteen government ministers – including Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Business Secretary Greg Clark, Justice Secretary David Gauke and Scottish Secretary David Mundell – defied the government whips by abstaining in the vote. Work and pensions minister Sarah Newton voted against the orders of the whips and has now resigned.

Mundell said he backed the PM’s deal and had always made clear his opposition to a no-deal Brexit. However, Wednesday’s no-deal vote is not binding – under current law the UK could still leave without a deal on 29 March, unless an extension is agreed with the EU.

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