London: British lawmakers on Monday voted against all four possible alternative plans for Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union (EU), after rejecting the deal tabled thrice in the Parliament.
While the voting continued in the British Parliament on Monday (local time), lawmakers rejected all the proposed alternatives, which included plans to hold a second referendum, retaining much closer economic ties after leaving the EU, or stopping Brexit to prevent a no-deal departure, Al Jazeera reported. The second referendum proposal garnered the most votes in favour – 280 – but was beaten by 292 votes against.
The next option that proposed UK to stay in a permanent customs union with the EU was rejected by 276 to 273 votes. The so-called divorce deal of May was rejected for the third time in the British Parliament on March 29 by 58 votes, with the EU warning that a no-deal Brexit is now a ‘likely scenario’.
The UK is set to crash out of the EU on April 12, unless the British Parliament passes May’s deal or the government is able to secure a long extension to Brexit. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told Al Jazeera that the government would continue to seek support for a “credible” plan for leaving the EU. “This house has continuously rejected leaving without a deal just as it has rejected not leaving at all,” Barclay was quoted as saying.
“Therefore the only option is to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal,” he added. May had earlier announced that she would step down if her deal was passed in the British Parliament. Despite the rejection, calls from parliamentarians regarding May’s resignation have magnified.
Adding to the crisis, May had also previously rejected calls for a second referendum, putting forth her resolve to honour the outcome of the 2016 vote and leave the EU. On March 31, more than six million people signed a petition, put online on March 20, urging the British government to stop the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.