JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: The Ayes to the right, 242. The Nays to the left, 391. So the Nays have it; the Nays have it.
JAISAL NOOR: British lawmakers crushingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal to quit the European Union on Tuesday, March 12.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in an orderly fashion, with a deal, and that the deal we’ve negotiated is the best, and indeed, the only deal available.
JAISAL NOOR: Thrusting Brexit into turmoil just 17 days before the planned departure date. Following the defeat, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the government to rule out a no deal Brexit.
JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The government has been defeated again by an enormous majority, and they must now accept their deal, their proposal, the one the Prime Minister has put, is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House. And quite clearly, no deal must be taken off the table. We’ve said that before, and we’ll say that again.
JAISAL NOOR: And suggested that maybe the time was right for a general election, as the clock has been run out on the Prime Minister, he said.
JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: We’ll put forward our proposals, again, which are about a negotiated customs union, access to the market, and protection of rights. Those are the ones we’ll put forward. We believe there may well be, there may well be, a majority for them. But there will also be the potential of negotiating them. The Prime Minister has run down the clock, and the clock has been run out on her. Maybe it’s time, instead, we had a general election and the people could choose who their government should be.
JAISAL NOOR: The vote puts the world’s fifth largest economy in uncharted territory, with no obvious way forward. Exiting the EU without a deal, delaying the March 29 divorce date, or snap election, or even another referendum, are all possible now. Corbyn has recently endorsed a new referendum. Prime Minister May may even try a third time to get parliamentary support in the hope that hardline Euroskeptic lawmakers in her Conservative Party, the most vocal critics of her withdrawal treaty, might change their minds if it becomes more likely that Britain might stay in the EU after all.
Lawmakers will now vote on Wednesday, March 13 on whether Britain should quit the world’s biggest trading bloc without a deal–a scenario that business leaders warn would bring chaos to the markets and supply chains, and other critics say would cause shortages of food and medicines. May said the government would not instruct her own party’s lawmakers on how to vote. An opposition Labour Party spokesman said this meant she had “given up any pretense of leading the country.”