Final blow to May’s premiership as Brexit deal rejected again

May puts stripped-down Brexit deal to 'last chance' vote in parliament

On Friday afternoon, Parliament rejected - for a third time - May's withdrawal deal, or at least the most elemental part of it, the legal withdrawal agreement.

With a clear majority in the Commons against a no-deal Brexit, and with MPs holding more votes on alternative plans on Monday, Mrs May said that the United Kingdom would have to find "an alternative way forward".

That meant there would not be enough time to get legislation through to avoid a no-deal Brexit, she said. Britain's opposition Labour Party supports the idea of a customs union.

She was forced to strike a deal with Northern Ireland's pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and since then has struggled to keep her party and its allies together.

This satisfies the EU's request for approval of the withdrawal agreement, but means another vote might be necessary on the declaration before the deal is implemented. The protest voiced the anger of those opposed to Britain delaying its departure from the European Union on the day Britain should have officially left the Brussels bloc.

The prime minister had offered to quit if MPs backed the deal, but while some of her critics fell in behind her, 34 of the 314 MPs in her Conservative party still rebelled.

The BBC's flagship current affairs programme "Newsnight" reported Thursday night that a cabinet minister, asked why May was still going ahead with a third vote on the same deal, replied, "F**k knows, I am past caring".

A Brexit supporter holds a sign during a rally after the final leg of the "March to Leave" in London, Friday, March 29, 2019.

The backstop and the Irish border issue has plagued the Brexit negotiations for the past year, while European Union member states are still in the dark about how the bloc would enforce rules to keep the single market intact in case of a no deal.

European Council President Donald Tusk called an emergency meeting for April 10, two days before the current ultimate Brexit deadline.

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"Parliament will continue this process on Monday and we've got to look at all the options".

Following the vote, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said it was "a growing possibility".

An "alternative way forward" would have to be found, May said, threatening hard-Brexit MPs that anything other than her agreement reached with the EU was "almost certain" to involve British participation in the European elections.

MPs have repeatedly rejected a "no-deal" outcome, fearing catastrophe if Britain severs ties with its closest trading partner with no plan in place.

One of them went as far as to accuse the Prime Minister of being a "pathological liar".

Officials believe there is still a chance that, if she can get it through before April 12, this date is still possible.

Exhausted of waiting, MPs this week gave themselves unprecedented powers to vote on a range of options for Britain's future relationship with the EU.

Eight of the Blairites, who split off in order to set up The Independent Group (TIG) with three ex-Tories last month, calculate that if events lead to a general election, a much larger split in the Labour Party could materialise over Brexit policy.

"The bottom line remains that if the House does not approve a withdrawal deal and can not countenance leaving without a deal we will have to seek a longer extension", she said, laying out the options without showing the way forward or, in other words, leading.

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