British lawmakers strike down May’s Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Annika Haas

Jan. 15 (UPI) — Britain’s House of Commons voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for the country to leave the European Union on Tuesday, an overwhelming defeat that is prompting calls for a no-confidence vote.

MPs voted 432-202 to reject the Brexit deal more than two years after voters approved Britain’s departure. The move has proven difficult, as new trade deals, border laws and other sovereign issues have to be worked out beforehand. The biggest sticking point has been the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he tabled a no-confidence motion, which was scheduled to be debated Wednesday. Should May fail a no-confidence vote, it could trigger a general election.

European Council President Donald Tusk said Tuesday’s vote proves Britain should reconsider Brexit altogether.

“If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” he tweeted.

The Labor Party proposed an amendment that would have rejected May’s deal outright. The Scottish National Party’s proposed amendment also rejected the deal and directed May to delay the March 29 departure. It also prevented Britain from leaving the EU without a deal.

Conservative lawmaker Edward Leigh proposed a compromise, in which Brexit would terminate in 2021 if the EU refuses to end the Irish border backstop. British Attorney General Geoffrey Cox warned that any deviation from what the European Council approved would put Brexit at square one again.

Conservative John Baron proposed a single amendment that curbs the backstop, giving Britain the right to terminate the backstop without having to secure an agreement from the EU. Brussels already denied May’s request for a unilateral right to exit the backstop. The amendment would also kill May’s Brexit deal.


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