Brexit Vote: What The Hell Did MPs Actually Vote On Today – And What It Means?

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March 29 is finally here – the day Britain should have finally left the EU after years of referendum campaigning, drawn out negotiations and late night podium speeches from the prime minister.

But instead of a day of celebration for Brexiteers – some of whom spent the last two weeks marching from Sunderland to London for what should have been a victory rally in Parliament Square – an exhausted Theresa May was still desperately trying to flog her Brexit deal.

On Friday afternoon, MPs were once again asked to vote on the PM’s plan – and said no.

Unlike the first two meaningful votes, only the withdrawal agreement – the part which sets out the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU – was be voted on.

In a bid to finally push May’s deal through the Commons, the government revealed yesterday that the political declaration, which sets out the framework for the future trade relationship, would not be included in the ballot.


But what does this mean for Brexit – and what happens now MPs have once again refused to back the deal?

Why Did MPs Not Vote On The Whole Brexit Deal?

Brexit protestors outside the Houses of Parliament
Brexit protestors outside the Houses of Parliament

There are two many reasons. One – that May only needed to get MPs to back the withdrawal agreement in order to get EU leaders to agree to delay Brexit until May 22.

The second was a bid by the prime minister to peel off some votes from Labour MPs, with the opposition party – and its leader – actually supporting the terms of the withdrawal agreement. (It’s what the government wants the UK’s future relationship with the EU to look like that they’re less keen on.)

But the move has sparked anger among Labour MPs, with many accusing May of trying to force them into a “blind Brexit”.

What Happens Now MPs Have Voted Down The Deal?

EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier
EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier
Yves Herman / Reuters

It certainly was not be the first time. But the big thing at stake this time was the date the UK will leave the EU.

The UK now only has an Article 50 extension until April 12. (As decided by EU leaders at a summit last week).

Michel Barnier – the EU’s chief negotiator – has already warned that the country will be expected to “indicate a way forward” before then.

The two main options are likely to be: 1. Crash out of the EU without a deal; *or*

2. Agree to a long extension and take part in European Parliament elections. (Neither choice is likely to be *super* popular.)

May also dropped her heaviest hint yet there might be a general election, when she told MPs today that parliament was “reaching the limit” of what it could do.


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