UK Parliament Rejects Brexit Deal in Historic Vote
Britain's parliament on Tuesday resoundingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, triggering a no-confidence vote in her government and plunging its plans to leave the EU into further chaos, reports AFP.
MPs voted 432 to 202 against May's plan for taking Britain out of the European Union, the biggest parliamentary defeat for a government in modern British political history.
With a deal that took nearly two years to craft in tatters and her government's future hanging in the balance, EU leaders sounded a note of exasperation, urging Britain to come out and say what it actually wants.
"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?" EU president Donald Tusk tweeted.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, warned of a heightened risk of a "no deal" Brexit -- an outcome that could disrupt trade, slow down the UK economy, and wreak havoc on the financial markets.
The government of Ireland -- the only EU member state with a land border with Britain -- said it would now intensify preparations to cope with a "disorderly Brexit".
And German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, representing the EU's most dominant economy and leading political voice, called the vote "a bitter day for Europe".
- 'Catastrophic' defeat -
Most lawmakers have always opposed Brexit, as have some leading members of the government, creating a contradiction that has been tearing apart Britain ever since a June 2016 referendum began its divorce from the other 27 EU states.
Moments after Tuesday's outcome, which was met with huge cheers by hundreds of anti-Brexit campaigners who watched the vote on big screens, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn submitted a motion of no-confidence in May's government, calling her defeat "catastrophic".
The vote is expected on Wednesday at 1900 GMT.
May sought to strike a conciliatory tone, telling MPs they had the right to challenge her leadership and promising to hold more talks to salvage a workable solution by the rapidly approaching March 29 Brexit deadline.
She promised to hold discussions with MPs from across parliament to identify ideas "that are genuinely negotiable and have sufficient support in this House".
"If these meetings yield such ideas, the government will then explore them with the European Union."
Downing Street said May will then return to parliament with a new Brexit proposal on Monday.
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