Britain’s parliament rejected PM Theresa May’s deal to quit the European Union for a second time on 12 March 2019, deepening the country’s worst political crisis for generations, 17 days before the planned departure date. Lawmakers voted against May’s amended Brexit deal by 391 to 242 as her last-minute talks with EU chiefs to assuage her critics’ concerns ultimately proved fruitless. The vote puts the world’s fifth largest economy in uncharted territory with no obvious way forward: exiting the EU without a deal, delaying the March 29 divorce date, a snap election, or even another referendum are all now possible.
- May might even try a third time to get parliamentary support in the hope that hardline eurosceptic lawmakers in her Conservative Party, the most vocal critics of her withdrawal treaty, might change their minds if it becomes more likely that Britain might stay in the EU after all.
- While she lost, the margin of defeat was smaller than the record 230-vote loss her deal suffered in January.
- If this vote is not passed, if this deal is not passed, then Brexit could be lost,” a hoarse-voiced May told lawmakers before her deal was defeated.
- Sterling, which had earlier in the day fallen by two percent to $1.3005, was trading at around $1.3082 shortly after the vote.
- Lawmakers are now due to vote on 13 March 2019 on whether Britain should exit the world’s biggest trading bloc without a deal, a scenario business leaders warn would bring chaos to markets and supply chains, and other critics say could cause shortages of food and medicines.
- Brexit is the proposed withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU), which is scheduled to take place on 29 March 2019 when the period for negotiating a Withdrawal Agreement will end unless an extension is agreed.
- The UK joined the European Communities (EC) in 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath, with continued membership endorsed by a referendum in 1975.