Britain and Brexit in chaos after vote fails

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 12, 2019 - Duration: 02:17s

Britain and Brexit in chaos after vote fails

Lawmakers have crushingly defeated Theresa May's Brexit deal for a second time, leaving Britain and its plans to leave the European Union in chaos.

Lucy Fielder reports.

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Britain and Brexit in chaos after vote fails

A second, crushing defeat for Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday...deepening Britain's worst political crisis for generations.

Just over two weeks before it was supposed to leave the European Union.

Lawmakers rejected the deal by 391 to 242.

Now, Brexit is in uncharted territory.

And the options are wide open: including exiting the EU without a deal, delaying departure, a snap election or even another referendum.

Or May could try to get a deal through parliament for a third time.

Though with two defeats by huge margins -- the first was in January -- it's unclear what would change.

May herself warned that losing the vote could mean canceling Brexit.

But the clamor outside parliament was a reminder that it's not just down to the UK's divided political elite.

The whole country is split.

And pressure will be on lawmakers when they return to parliament on Wednesday night; this time to decide whether Britain should leave the bloc with no deal at all.

That's a possibility businesses warn would shake the world's fifth-largest economy.

Another "no" is expected.

If that happens, there'll be yet another ballot -- probably Thursday.

On whether to delay Brexit to allow time for more talks.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITAIN'S PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY, SAYING: "But let me be clear - voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face." A delay is now the most likely outcome.

But all sides warn it that won't solve Britain's problems. Both May and the EU have ruled out further changes to the divorce deal -- two and a half tortuous years in the making.

The European Commission chief has warned there'll be - quote - "no third chance".

May won some last-ditch assurances from the EU about the so-called Irish backstop, an insurance policy to avoid checks on the Irish border, and the thorniest issue for Brexiteers.

But they weren't convinced; especially when Britain's attorney general ruled Tuesday it made little legal difference.

With Britain potentially tied into the EU's orbit even after Brexit.

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