Brexit: No deal ‘likely’ on April 12 after Theresa May's deal rejected by MPs for third time, says EU Commission

The PM now has until April 12 to come up with new proposals to take to Brussels

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Friday 29 March 2019 15:59
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Theresa May says withdrawal agreement defeat 'should be matter of profound regret'

The UK is now "likely" to crash out of the European Union in two weeks' time after Theresa May's failure to win support from MPs for her withdrawal agreement, the EU Commission has said.

In dramatic scenes, MPs rejected Ms May's deal for the third time by 58 votes, as hundreds of protesters filled the streets of Westminster to demonstrate their fury at the delay to Brexit day.

The prime minister now has until April 12 to come up with a new plan to take to Brussels so she can secure a longer extension to the negotiations or crash out without a deal.

In a sternly-worded statement after the vote, a spokesperson for the EU Commission said it "regrets the negative vote" in the Commons and confirmed the date of Brexit was delayed until next month.

It said: "It will be for the UK to indicate the way forward before that date, for consideration by the European Council.

"A “no-deal” scenario on 12 April is now a likely scenario. The EU has been preparing for this since December 2017 and is now fully prepared for a “no-deal” scenario at midnight on 12 April.

"The EU will remain united. The benefits of the withdrawal agreement, including a transition period, will in no circumstances be replicated in a “no-deal” scenario.

"Sectoral mini-deals are not an option."

European Council president Donald Tusk swiftly announced plans for an emergency summit on 10 April, ahead of the new Brexit date.

European Commission secretary general Martin Selmayr, a close ally of president Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: "12 April is now the new 29 March."

A grim-faced Ms May said the result of the vote was a "matter of profound regret", and rebuked MPs, saying: "I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House."

She went on: "This House has rejected no deal. It has rejected no Brexit. On Wednesday it rejected all the variations of the deal on the table.

"And today it has rejected approving the withdrawal agreement alone and continuing a process on the future.

"This government will continue to press the case for the orderly Brexit that the result of the referendum demands."

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Division lists revealed that 34 Conservative MPs rebelled against the prime minister, while only five Labour MPs voted for her deal.

The number of Tory rebels was fewer than half the 75 who opposed second meaningful vote earlier this month but even the backing of Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg could not secure victory.

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