The uncertainty over Brexit looms once more in London critically than ever as the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s “improved” deal was rejected by the House of Commons once again Tuesday.
What next for Brexit and the future relationship between the U.K. and the EU are still to be determined by the MPs in a series of votes in Westminster this week.
The parliamentarians will vote on a motion put forward by the government after losing the vote on the deal, which will ask them whether the U.K. should leave the union without a deal.
On Wednesday, EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier described the the possibility of a no deal Brexit as “higher than ever.”
Barnier said it was now “the responsibility of the U.K.” to suggest a way forward.
“They have to tell us what it is they want for their future relationship,” he said, speaking at the European Parliament.
British MPs are filling the Westminster Palace’s lobbies ahead of the vote this evening, with which they will either accept a departure without a deal or reject it.
What the EU officials are saying though, the U.K. must make its mind and the solution to this mess lies within the parliament.
“Please make up your minds in London, because this uncertainty cannot continue,” Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit co-ordinator of European Parliament, urged British parliament on Wednesday.
“Not for us, not for Britain and certainly not for our citizens,” he said.
Verhofstadt said that he is against any extension to the article 50 “if it’s not based on a clear opinion of the House of Commons for something”.
Publishing “temporary” tariffs and arrangements in Northern Ireland for a no deal Brexit, the British government signaled that they want to keep the option on the agenda but it is likely that MPs will reject it Wednesday evening.
Second defeat for May
May’s “improved” Brexit deal failed to pass the U.K. parliament after being voted down by a majority of 149 members Tuesday evening.
The humiliating defeat came approximately two months after the same deal was rejected by a majority of 230 MPs, giving May one of the worst defeats for a sitting government in British history.
Tuesday’s vote saw 391 MPs voting against the EU withdrawal agreement, political declaration and three newly added documents, which May argued were “legally binding”. Some 242 MPs voted for the deal.
“I profoundly regret the decision that this House has taken tonight,” May said following the defeat.
“I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is that the U.K. leaves the EU in an orderly fashion with a deal, and that the deal we have negotiated is the best and indeed the only deal available,” May told lawmakers.
Tuesday’s defeat paved the way for two more crucial votes today and Thursday as British lawmakers are set to vote on whether the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal and then to vote on whether to revoke Article 50 — a two-year-long process for any leaving EU member to complete.