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May's Brexit Deal Rejected Again


With 17 days left to go until Brexit, the UK Parliament once again rejects Prime Minister May’s deal by 391 to 242 votes. Although the margin of 149 votes had significantly decreased since May suffered a record shattering defeat of 230 votes in January, it still was not enough to pass the deal May had only just finished finalizing the day before in Strasbourg.


Why did May’s deal fail?


Due to a contentious guarantee, otherwise known as the Irish backstop, May’s withdrawal deal was once again defeated by the eurosceptic MPs. The guarantee would essentially prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland by keeping customs arrangements between Ireland and the UK aligned. Many however fear that this backstop would indefinitely bind the UK closer to the EU’s rules, and so continue to reject it.


What now?


MPs will now vote tonight, the 13 March, on whether or not they support the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 29 March. Prime Minister May has granted a free vote for this evenings motion, which means MPs can vote with their conscience rather than having to follow the orders of party managers. If the MPs votes for a no-deal Brexit, then the deal is dead and the UK must prepare to crash out of the EU without a deal. However, if the MPs vote against a no-deal Brexit tonight, then they must vote again on Thursday whether or not to request an extension to Article 50. The EU has stated that in order to extend the Brexit leave date, the UK would have to give explicit reasons as to why they are submitting the request and what they intend to do with the extension. All 27 heads of the remaining EU countries would then have to approve the request.

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