Lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, sounding its probable death knell and leaving Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union in turmoil on the very day it was supposed to quit the bloc. The decision to reject a stripped-down version of May’s divorce deal has left it totally unclear how, when or even whether Britain will leave the EU, and plunges the three-year Brexit crisis to a deeper level of uncertainty.
A succession of European leaders said there was a very real chance Britain would now leave without a deal, a scenario that businesses fear would cause chaos for the world’s fifth-biggest economy. May had framed the vote as the last opportunity to ensure Britain actually left the EU, making a passionate plea to lawmakers to put aside party differences and strongly-held beliefs. But in a special sitting of parliament, they voted 344-286 against the EU Withdrawal Agreement, agreed after two years of tortuous negotiations with the bloc.
The British pound, which has been buoyed in recent weeks by hopes that the likelihood of an abrupt ‘no-deal’ Brexit is receding, fell half a percent after May lost, to as low as $1.2977, but then recovered some of its losses.
No-deal Brexit fears rise as parliament sinks May’s deal, Reuters, Mar 30