Prime Minister's Brexit withdrawal agreement rejected by Parliament for a third time

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On the day that the United Kingdom was meant to leave the European Union, Parliament has again rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal strategy. The motion was defeated 344 votes to 286, and under the Brexit extension agreed on March 21 the UK remains scheduled to leave the EU on April 12.

Towards the end of a week that saw the Prime Minister promise to stand down if her Brexit plan was supported, Mrs. May unsuccessfully presented a ‘watered-down‘ version of her proposal to Parliament.

Previously, Ministers had voted on the withdrawal agreement and a political declaration that sets out the future relationship between the UK and the EU. The vote on March 29 saw MPs vote only on the withdrawal agreement, however the Prime Minister was still unable to sway enough Ministers to support the plan during a special sitting of Parliament. 

This is the third time that Theresa May has failed to receive the support of Parliament over the deal, losing a vote on January 15 by 432 votes to 202, and  another on March 12 by 391 votes to 242.

Speaking after the vote, the Prime Minister said the vote result was “a matter of profound regret” and that she fears to be “reaching the limits of this process in this House.”

Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, tweeted that the leaders of the remaining 27 members of the European Union will meet on April 10 to discuss the UK’s exit from the EU.

The vote also increases the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit. “A ‘no-deal’ scenario on 12 April is now a likely scenario” a European Council press release states.  “The EU has been preparing for this since December 2017 and is now fully prepared for a ‘no-deal’ scenario at midnight on 12 April.”

Ministers will be able to determine the support for other options during a second round of “indicative votes” on Monday April 1. It has also been reported that the Prime Minister is considering a fourth attempt at having her withdrawal agreement pass Parliament.

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