UK parliament votes for a Brexit delay
Britain is currently scheduled to leave the 28-member EU on March 29 [File: Toby Melville/Reuters]
Britain’s parliament has voted in favour of delaying the UK’s departure from the European Union by three months, pending approval of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal within a week.
MPs in the House of Commons voted 412 to 202 on Thursday in favour of a government motion proposing a “one-off extension … for the purpose of passing the necessary EU exit legislation” until June 30, provided May’s widely maligned deal wins parliament’s approval by Wednesday next week.
May will now be expected to request an extension to Britain’s current March 29 departure date from EU officials, who are required to sign off on any delay to a departure from the bloc.
If May fails to win parliamentary approval for her deal by March 20, the Brexit delay could be extended beyond three months. British legislators have already overwhelmingly rejected her EU divorce deal twice.
MPs on Tuesday voted 391 to 242 against May’s plan, fewer than 24 hours after she claimed to have won meaningful concessions from Brussels over the deal’s contentious so-called “backstop” clause.
The result marked a second defeat within two months for the prime minister over her Brexit strategy after MPs overwhelmingly rejected the proposed withdrawal agreement by a margin of 230 in January.
Leader of the main opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn said on Tuesday May’s plan for leaving the EU was “dead” and called on the government to adopt his proposals for an alternative departure from the bloc.
The EU has said no other terms of withdrawal are available to the UK other than the deal brokered with May during months of fractious back-and-forth negotiations, however.
Nearly 52 percent of Britons – more than 17 million people – voted in favour of quitting the 28-member EU during a June 2016 referendum. Turnout was 72 percent.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies