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MPs vote to delay Brexit, reject 2nd referendum

MPs vote to delay Brexit, reject 2nd referendum

DPA
London
British lawmakers voted on Thursday to ask the European Union for a delay to the country’s exit from the bloc, but rejected a plan to hold a second referendum on Brexit.
Parliament’s elected main house, the Commons, voted by 412 to 202 for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s motion to request a one-off extension of three months to the Brexit negotiations, until June 30.
May narrowly avoided defeat on two amendments to her motion: The lawmakers rejected by 314 votes to 312 an amendment to give parliament control of the way forward, and they voted by 318 to 302 against an opposition Labour amendment requiring them to seek consensus on a Brexit deal. They also rejected an amendment calling for a second Brexit referendum by 334 votes to 85.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was criticized by many pro-EU lawmakers for not backing a second referendum.
He said the delay to Brexit will give lawmakers “the opportunity and the responsibility to work together to find a solution to the crisis facing this country.” “And I also reiterate our support for a public vote not as political point-scoring, but as a realistic option to break the deadlock,” Corbyn told parliament.
May’s deputy, David Lidington, said during the debate on her motion that the government was forced to propose extending Brexit after lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected May’s deal for a second time on Tuesday.
If a deal can be agreed March 20, the government expects the EU to accept a “short technical extension to allow the necessary legislation to be carried through,” Lidington said.
If no deal is approved, Britain would be forced to seek a longer extension, in which case the government would hold indicative votes, spread over two weeks next month during a “sustained period of uncertainty,” he said.
Any extension to Brexit would require “unanimous agreement” by member states, a European Commission spokesman said after the vote.
“It will be for the [member states] to consider such a request, giving priority to the need to ensure the functioning of the EU institutions and taking into account the reasons for and duration of a possible extension,” the spokesman said. He noted that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker “is in constant contact with all leaders.” EU leaders will meet in Brussels on March 21 and 22, when they are expected to decide on a Brexit extension past the planned date of March 29.
May warned earlier that if a longer extension is needed, Britain would have to take part in European Parliament elections in May.
She suffered another humiliating defeat late Wednesday when lawmakers backed a cross-party amendment to her government motion. They rejected a no-deal Brexit at any time, rather than ruling it out until March 29, as the government had wanted.

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