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British MPs vote against no-deal, ruling out hard Brexit
British lawmakers voted on Wednesday against a no-deal Brexit, narrowly avoiding the possibility of crashing out of the European Union on 29 March.
The no-deal Brexit vote scraped through the Houses of Parliament with 312 MPs in favour and 308 against. Prime Minister Theresa May said the British parliament had “provided a clear majority”.
The no-deal vote does not really hold legal force, but carries political weight. A no-deal Brexit could still be on the cards unless the UK’s decides to cancel its departure or ratify a deal with the EU.
In a further vote, MPs also rejected an amendment calling for the government to pursue a managed no-deal Brexit on 22 May. While MPs also accepted an amended motion calling on May’s government to rule out a no-deal Brexit in any scenario.
“The house needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken,” said PM May. She said the legal default position would be a no-deal Brexit, unless something else was agreed.
May said it was about the “choices that this house faces”, outlining options including a Brexit based on a deal or a deal subject to a future referendum. Although she said a referendum could risk resulting in no Brexit at all.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said an extension to Article 50 was “evitable”, urging parliament to “take control of the situation”.
Labour leader Corbyn said MPs had to work to find a “compromise”, referring to his party’s alternative solution.
The British pound rose against the US dollar in reaction to the vote, jumping 1.39 per cent to 1.326 US dollars.
British MPs will on Thursday vote on whether to request a Brexit delay from the EU for the planned departure of 29 March.