Legislators in Britain’s House of Commons on Thursday voted 413 to 202 for Prime Minister Theresa May to ask the European Union to delay the United Kingdom’s exit from the bloc. Britain is supposed to exit the European Union on March 29, but its MPs have not accepted a deal negotiated between May and the bloc.
On Thursday, May said that Brexit could be delayed by three months, up to June 30, if MPs support her withdrawal agreement in a vote next week, BBC reported. If they reject the deal, the UK’s exit could be delayed further. However, any such delay is subject to the approval of all 27 countries of the European Union.
May herself voted to delay Brexit on Thursday.
However, over half the legislators of May’s party, the Conservative Party, voted against the motion, The Guardian reported. This included Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and leader of the House Andrea Leadsom.
“This evening the Brexit secretary voted against his government’s own motion on Brexit, which earlier in the day he had defended in the House of Commons,” Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said. “That’s the equivalent of the chancellor voting against his own budget. This is a government that has completely lost control.”
An amendment calling for a second referendum, however, failed, with only 85 MPs backing it, and 334 opposed. The Labour Party issued a whip asking its MPs to abstain from the vote, but 24 MPs defied the whip to vote for a second referendum, and 17 voted against it.
The United Kingdom Parliament had on Wednesday voted against a no-deal Brexit by a narrow margin of 312-308. After lawmakers rejected May’s latest Brexit proposal on Tuesday, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party called for a general election to allow the public to decide who should lead them into the next phase of Brexit.
The UK and the EU have differed over the terms of an Irish backstop, which is a “safety net” to preserve a border without customs and regulatory checks through a series of measures. British and European Union leaders had earlier committed to avoiding a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit. Pro-Brexit leaders in May’s Conservative Party insist that the backstop would make it impossible for Britain to leave the EU.
On January 15, the British parliament had voted to reject May’s deal by 230 votes, the biggest defeat for a government in modern British history.