MPs overwhelmingly rejected Mrs May’s Brexit deal in a second “meaningful vote” with 391 against the Withdrawal Agreement and 242 in support giving a majority of 149. European Council President Donald Tusk said there was no more the EU could do to help end the deadlock.
If there is a solution to the current impasse it can only be found in London
A spokesman for Mr 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.
Donald Tusk and Michel Barnier have expressed their frustration at the Brexit vote
“With only 17 days left to 29 March, 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.”
MPs have again overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal
Mrs May said she “profoundly regrets the decision this House has taken tonight”.
Addressing the Commons after the result of the vote was read out she said: “I continue 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 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: “This is an issue of grave importance for the future of our country.
“Just like the referendum there are strongly held and equally legitimate views on both sides.
“For that reason, I can confirm that this will be a free vote on this side of the House.”
The Prime Minister said she had “personally struggled with this choice” but the best way to leave was “in an orderly way” with a deal.
Theresa May has suffered another crushing defeat in the House of Commons
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier 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.”
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted: “I regret the outcome of tonight’s Brexit vote.
“It is disappointing that the UK government has been unable to ensure a majority for the Withdrawal Agreement agreed by both parties in November, even after multiple additional assurances from the EU. A solution must come from London.”
His disappointment was echoed by his Danish counterpart Lars Løkke Rasmussen who also took to social media.
He tweeted: “Deeply saddened by the outcome of the Brexit vote this evening.
“Despite clear EU assurances on the backstop, we now face a chaotic no-deal Brexit scenario.
“And time is almost up. We will intensify our no-deal preparation.”
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez said he profoundly regretted the rejection of Mrs May’s deal which would serve only to prolong the uncertainty just over two weeks before Brexit is due to happen.
Writing in Spanish newspaper El País he said: “British MPs neither ratified the withdrawal agreement, nor managed to reach a basic consensus on the real, existing possibilities: a no-deal exit or staying in the European Union.
“On a day like today, the important thing is that Spain has done its job. Spaniards are ready for any scenario, with or without a deal.
“The Spanish government’s number one priority has always been the same: To offer rigour, certainty and security to this process – especially for citizens and economic actors – and to strengthen the foundations of our future relationship with a country to which we are bound by profound links of many different kinds.”