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British MPs reject EU withdrawal agreement, ask Theresa May to quit

The result means that the UK is now set to leave the bloc on April 12 without a deal

Saturday March 30, 2019 10:11 AM, Agencies

Brexit Vote

London: British MPs Friday rejected the government's Brexit withdrawal agreement, handing Prime Minister Theresa May a fresh defeat in her battle to steer the UK out of the European Union.

UK MPs voted 344 to 286 on Friday against the withdrawal agreement, a stripped-down version of the twice-defeated deal that May agreed with the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour party, said "this deal now has to change" or the PM must quit.

"The House has been clear. This deal now has to change, there has to be an alternative found. If the prime minister can't accept that, then she must go", he said.

The result means that the UK is now set to leave the bloc on April 12 without a deal, unless the government negotiates an extension to the country's departure date with Brussels.

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

She said that the outcome was "a matter of profound regret", adding that "I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House".

The government brought Friday's vote anticipating that it could find majority support if MPs only voted on the withdrawal agreement, rather than the overall Brexit package negotiated with the EU. Besides other things the package includes a political declaration that outlines plans for the UK's future relationship with the the bloc.

In the end however only a handful of opposition Labour legislators switched to back the deal, while dozens of May's own Conservative party MPs voted against the government. Those who voted against the government also included 10 MPs from the Norther Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which props up the government, leading to a sizeable loss for May.

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