Mrs. May addressed ministers on December 10 to announce the postponement of the vote scheduled for the following day. The delayed vote leaves questions about a number of proposed options for Britain and the Brexit process from here. These include a no-deal Brexit, a second referendum, renegotiation with the EU on the current proposed plan, a general election, or halting Brexit by revoking Article 50.
The Prime Minister revealed she had spoken to EU leaders about the deal over the preceding weekend. However, the European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said the EU would not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement- “As President Juncker said, this deal is the best and only deal possible.”
Mrs. May also warned against a second referendum, warning that it “risks dividing the country again,” and has ruled out ‘abandoning‘ Brexit, despite the European Court of Justice ruling that that the UK could stop the article 50 process without seeking EU approval.
In light of the delayed vote, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that preparations for a no-deal Brexit should “intensify.” The result of no-deal has been predicted to have significant economic and political consequences for Britain.
It has been speculated that an early general election could be held to get a political mandate for the current Brexit deal. Mrs. May does not have the authority to call the election, but if proposed to Parliament and supported by two-thirds of MPs an election could be called, as occured in 2017. The earliest date for an election post an accepted proposal would be 25 working days later.
The Prime Minister declined to provide a timeline for the new vote, saying only that the final deadline for the vote would be January 21. Brexit cannot be legally implemented until approved by Parliament.
Defending her proposal and decision, the Prime Minister said that her proposal “is the right deal for Britain” and that “I am determined to do all I can to secure the reassurances this House requires, to get this deal over the line and deliver for the British people.”
In response, it has been reported that MPs have called on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to move on a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister. Labour chair Ian Lavery also claimed that “this is the most chaotic, farcical time in Parliamentary history.”