Risk of 'no deal' has never seemed so high, says EU negotiator after PM May loses Brexit vote in Parliament

AFP
London, UK Updated: Jan 16, 2019, 02:03 PM(IST)

Supporters of second Brexit referendum rejoice over defeat of PM May's deal Photograph:( Reuters )

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London's FTSE 100 index rose slightly at the open on Wednesday after the UK parliament handed the British government a bruising defeat

EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned on Wednesday that the British Parliament's overwhelming rejection of a negotiated Brexit deal increases the risk that Britain will crash out of the European Union without an agreement.

"We are 10 weeks from the 31st of March and at 10 weeks the risk of a no deal has never seemed so high," Barnier told a session of the European Parliament in the eastern French city of Strasbourg.

Amid the political crisis, France's Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau said the European Union could push back the looming March 29 Brexit deadline if London made such a request.

"Legally, technically, it's possible," Loiseau told France Inter radio.

"The British need to ask for it and there needs to be a unanimous agreement among the 27 other members of the European Union to say: 'Alright, you chose March 29 as the leaving date... Ok, we'll push it back."

Meanwhile, London's FTSE 100 index rose slightly at the open on Wednesday after the UK parliament handed the British government a bruising defeat over its Brexit deal with the EU.

The benchmark index of 100 companies gained 0.2 per cent to 6,910.20 points. 

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.5 per cent to 10,940.36 points and the Paris CAC 40 climbed 0.5 per cent to 4,811.59.

Prime Minister Theresa May will face a confidence vote today after MPs overwhelmingly rejected her deal to leave the European Union, leaving Britain with no plan as it hurtles towards Brexit on March 29.

May suffered the largest government defeat in modern British history on Tuesday night when the House of Commons rejected by 432 votes to 202 the withdrawal agreement she struck with Brussels late last year.

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