LONDON – British lawmakers on Friday rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s European Union divorce deal for a third time, a defeat that adds further uncertainty and confusion over the country’s the efforts to leave the bloc.
Britain now has until April 12 to announce a new plan, or leave the bloc without a deal and risk a disorderly exit that could substantially damage Britain’s economy.
It could also mean an extended delay to Britain’s departure from the EU, known as Brexit, or no Brexit at all. May said the “implications are grave” and the EU leaders immediately announced an emergency summit on Brussels for April 10.
The House of Commons voted 286-344 against May’s withdrawal agreement, a narrower margin of loss than in previous parliamentary votes.
Lawmakers had already rejected May’s EU exit deal twice before and earlier this week she promised to quit as Britain’s leader if the deal is approved.
Lawmakers plan to hold a series of votes Monday in an attempt to find a new plan.
Friday’s vote was on the withdrawal agreement that sets out the terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc – but not a shorter declaration on future ties.
Almost three years after Britain voted to leave the EU, Brexit has brought the country’s political system to a standstill and May’s agreement still faces substantial opposition because hardline lawmakers from her ruling Conservative Party don’t feel the deal she negotiated with the EU sufficiently disentangles Britain from the EU. Many opposition Labour Party lawmakers, meanwhile, are in favor of closer ties with the EU.
Asked Thursday about May’s offer to resign if her Brexit deal is passed, President Donald Trump said he wished “the Brexit movement” well.
Of May, Trump said: “She’s strong, she’s tough and she’s in there fighting.”
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