With only 17 days left to 29 March, today's vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit. "Voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face". This House will have to answer that question. "The discussion on article 50 is done and dusted". She said Europe alone would be able to dictate the duration of any delay, and that it could "even lead to a second referendum, with all the damage that would do to our democracy". "Or does it want to leave with a deal but not this deal?"
Tabled by the Scottish National Party's Angus MacNeil and backed by europhile MPs including Tory grandee Kenneth Clarke, Labour's Keith Vaz and Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts, this amendment calls on the Government to halt Brexit by revoking its notice of intention to leave under Article 50 of the European Union treaties.
The vote puts the world's fifth largest economy in uncharted territory with no obvious way forward; exiting the European Union without a deal, delaying the March 29 divorce date, a snap election or even another referendum are all now possible.
Nigel Farage MEP, who was ad hoc leader of the Brexit campaign for many a long year before the term was even coined, declared that the deal's rejection and Mrs May's subsequent decision to put "No Deal" - now the legal default come March 29th - to a free vote, with her Remainer-dominated Government having no fixed position on the issue, was a "total failure of leadership".
Irish Europe Affairs minister Helen McEntee branded the plan as "absolutely disastrous" for Ireland's economy as she warned no-deal tariffs would be a "lose-lose scenario" for both the United Kingdom and the EU. And no indication that Britain is any closer to knowing what it wants from Brexit.
May said documents to be added to the deal provided "legally binding" assurances that the backstop would be temporary and that Britain would have a way to get out of it if the European Union failed to negotiate in good faith. However, the text of the 585-page withdrawal agreement remained unchanged.
"MPs were clear that legal changes were needed to the backstop".
Hours before a vote on the deal in parliament, May had failed to win over the main Brexit faction in her own party, while Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government, said it would vote against her.
After MPs first rejected the 585-page Brexit deal in January, May promised changes to its hated backstop plan, an arrangement meant to keep open the border with Ireland.
"The attorney general has confirmed that there have been no significant changes to the withdrawal agreement despite the legal documents that were agreed last night", Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said.
British supermarket chains and fast food giants have warned of higher prices and empty shelves in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
"The EU27 will expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration".
The turmoil leaves the world's fifth largest economy facing a range of scenarios - it could leave without a transition deal; delay the March 29 divorce date enshrined in law; May could hold a snap election or try a third time to get her deal passed; or Britain could hold another Brexit referendum. "If we don't check out tonight, we may never leave", tweeted Conservative legislator Bob Seely. "Even if there are a few, short-term bumps in the road we leave and both you and we can get on with the rest of our lives". "Comments from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have not been encouraging for May to secure the majority she needs". The EU will likely grant an extension because it won't want to be seen as forcing a no deal situation, but the fact that an extension into May would likely see Britain having to participate in the next European parliament elections raises issues for both sides.