The Prime Minister’s Brexit withdrawal agreement has been voted against by MPs, with 391 votes to 242. This defeat makes Brexit uncertain, with just 17 days to go until the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union. But what happens now? Will MPs vote for a No Deal?
Now that Mrs May’s vote did not pass the vote, Brexit is less certain and another vote is impending.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that should MPs vote the deal down for a second time, “there will be no third chance” and Parliament will have to determine the next course of action.
MPs have been promised an immediate vote on whether the UK should leave the EU with no deal – and this vote could take place as soon as Wednesday.
Should MPs elect for a no deal, this means the UK will leave the bloc as planned on March 29 – but will automatically switch to World Trade Organisation trade rules.
However, if a no deal Brexit is rejected, a third vote will follow – on whether a delay to Article 50 should be requested.
If that vote fails, the UK will leave the EU on March 29 without a deal.
If it passes, Mrs May will need to request an extension from the EU, which is likely to be granted.
Of last night’s outcome, which those against the vote won by a majority of 149, Theresa May says she “profoundly regrets” the decision of the MPs.
She has confirmed tomorrow a vote on a no-deal Brexit will take place.
Mrs May added that if the Commons declines to approve a no-deal Brexit, a vote on extending Article 50 will take place on Thursday.
In his response, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, said that “no deal must be taken off the table”.
Mr Corbyn said: “The Government has been defeated again by an enormous majority.
“They must now accept their deal is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House. Quite clearly, no-deal must be taken off the table.”
A spokesman for European Council president Donald Tusk said: “We regret the outcome of tonight’s vote and are disappointed that the UK Government has been unable to ensure a majority for the Withdrawal Agreement agreed by both parties in November.
“On the EU side we have done all that is possible to reach an agreement. 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.
“The EU, for its part, continues to stand by the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, which serves to prevent a hard border in Ireland and preserve the integrity of the single market unless and until alternative arrangements can be found.
“With only 17 days left to March 29, 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.
“Should there be a UK reasoned request for an extension, the EU27 will consider it and decide by unanimity.
“The EU27 will expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration. The smooth functioning of the EU institutions will need to be ensured.”