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UK Parliament votes to delay Brexit but rejects second referendum

UK Parliament votes to delay Brexit but rejects second referendum

The Conservative Party was split down the middle as Parliament voted to delay Brexit beyond its scheduled date of 29 March.

Options in the longer term might include agreeing to a softer kind of Brexit, holding a general election or a new referendum.

If MPs vote against it for the third time, the government has warned it will have to seek a much longer extension.

In the pouring rain in Sunderland, northeast England, which was the first place in Britain to declare a vote to leave the EU, Farage, wearing a flat cap and carrying an umbrella, said Brexit was now in danger of being scuttled by the establishment.

May planned to spend the next few days trying to persuade opponents in her Conservative Party and its parliamentary allies to support the withdrawal agreement, which Parliament has resoundingly defeated twice.

Her decision to hold a third meaningful vote next week is an ultimatum for lawmakers - back her deal so that she can request a "short, technical extension" until June 30; if not, Britain will need to participate in European Parliament elections in May, or worse, risk Brexit not materialising at all.

Ministers met for a reportedly testy political meeting of Cabinet ahead of the votes, at which Mrs May was said to have berated four senior colleagues who defied the Tory whip earlier in the week to abstain in the no-deal vote.

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One further complication is that due to United Kingdom parliamentary rules the Speaker John Bercow could decide there should be no further debates and votes on Mrs May's deal as it has already been rejected and is not likely to have changed in any way by next week.

The U.K.'s departure, due on March 29, is likely to be delayed as U.K. lawmakers wrangle over whether to approve a withdrawal agreement with the bloc.

A cross party amendment from Labour's Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper with Tory Oliver Letwin cancels Government business next Wednesday and sets the stage for "indicative votes" meant to identify what kind of Brexit could pass the Commons.

But the deal has remained deadlocked in parliament, chiefly by disagreement over the so-called Irish "backstop" - a measure to avoid barriers at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. "Those discussions will continue", DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said after talks with government ministers in London.

A possible scenario is the government seeking an extension to Brexit, and the European Union is likely to take a decision on March 21.

Or at any point Labour could call a vote of no confidence.

The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, questioned why the E.U. should grant an extension if the British government is "not ready for a cross-party approach to break the current deadlock?"