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UK parliament rejection of May's deal deepens Brexit division

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Doha, Qatar Mar 13, 2019, 07.45 AM (IST)

British lawmakers crushed Prime Minister Theresa May's European Union divorce deal on Tuesday, thrusting Britain deeper into crisis and forcing parliament to decide within days whether to back a no-deal Brexit or seek a last-minute delay.

Lawmakers voted against May's amended Brexit deal by 391 to 242 as her last-minute talks with EU chiefs on Monday to assuage her critics' concerns ultimately proved fruitless.

Also Read: Theresa May's Brexit deal defeat plunges UK into complete uncertainty

Remain supporters celebrated outside parliament on news that May's deal was rejected, but a leave supporter called the process of exiting the European Union a "farce".

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, a snap election or even another referendum are all now possible.

In a tweet, the European Union's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the EU will not negotiate Brexit again.

"Listening to debate in @HouseofCommons : there seems to be a dangerous illusion that the UK can benefit from a transition in the absence of the WA (Withdrawal Agreement). Let me be clear: the only legal basis for a transition is the WA. No withdrawal agreement means no transition," Barnier wrote on his Twitter page.

In a separate tweet, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he regretted the outcome of the vote adding that the "EU continues to stand by the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop."

The bloc insists the divorce deal - already rejected by parliament in January - will not be revisited.

It expects Prime Minister Theresa May to ask for a delay to Brexit to avoid economic disruption should Britain leave with no plan in place.

Story highlights

Remain supporters celebrated outside parliament on news that May's deal was rejected, but a leave supporter called the process of exiting the European Union a 'farce'.