United Kingdom parliament again rejects draft Brexit deal with EU

British Prime Minister Theresa May during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons London Credit UK Parliament  Mark Duffy  PA Wire

"She reiterated that a no-deal Brexit would damage the "fragile trust between the British public" and the House of Commons".

Hard-core Brexit supporters in May's Conservative Party and the prime minister's allies in Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party both said they could not support the deal.

The fatally-wounded Mrs May, who had originally put forward the proposal to block a no-deal on March 29, was forced into the extraordinary situation of voting against her own bill, after parliament led by Tory Remainers ambushed her by supporting an amendment to make the block permanent.

"If this deal is not passed, then Brexit could be lost", May said before Tuesday's vote.

Mr Lidington said the sides had agreed a joint legally binding instrument on the Withdrawal Agreement and Protocol on Northern Ireland that confirms the European Union can not try to "trap" the United Kingdom in the Irish backstop indefinitely.

The PM took the House floor following today's votes and stated that a short Brexit extension is only available if a deal is agreed upon seeing that renegotiating would require a longer extension.

MPs have voted to reject a no-deal Brexit "under any circumstance", inflicting yet another humiliating defeat on Theresa May.

As Mrs May swiftly admitted after the results of the latest vote became known in the late hours of Wednesday, the only effect of closing off both the negotiated and non-negotiated pathways to Brexit is that the British government will now have to ask the 27 remaining European Union member-states to delay Britain's departure from the European Union beyond the current date of March 29.

The EU is most likely to agree to a short extension for Britian to leave the EU after March 29, possibly through to May before elections to the European parliament are held. We may not know which way they will go until during the Brexit debate this afternoon in the House of Commons.

Mrs May initially planned to order MPs to vote against the amendment, but reportedly changed her mind after a tense Cabinet meeting where pro-Brexit ministers said she must leave it up to individuals.

But the rest of the EU is reluctant to postpone Brexit beyond the late May elections for the EU's legislature, the European Parliament.

If the no-deal option is blocked, MPs will vote again on Thursday evening (GMT) on a motion to delay the Brexit deadline for an unspecified period.

She also flagged a second referendum, but warned it could result in no Brexit at all, if the 2016 result was reversed.

"The EU can not try to trap the United Kingdom in the backstop indefinitely, and that doing so would be an explicit breach ofthe legally binding commitments that both sides have agreed", Mr Lidington said.

The House of Commons voted 391-242 against May's European Union withdrawal agreement Tuesday, snubbing changes she secured from the bloc to allay concerns about the deal's Irish border provisions.

Mr Lidington said: "Tonight we will be laying two new documents in the House; a joint legally-biding instrument on the Withdrawal Agreement and protocol on Northern Ireland and a joint statement to supplement the political declaration".

May's deal covers such things as citizens' rights, the status of the Irish border and Britain's divorce bill from the EU.

But there are many questions that remain unanswered.

To many lawmakers who had voted down May's deal for the first time in January because of concerns over the "backstop", Cox's advice provided evidence that their concerns had not been sufficiently met.

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