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Brexit: Parliament Rejects Leaving EU Without Deal, Will Vote to Extend Deadline

Brexit: Parliament Rejects Leaving EU Without Deal, Will Vote to Extend Deadline

May to Parliament: “The legal default in UK and EU law remains that the UK will leave the EU without a deal unless something else is agreed.”

Okay, let’s see if I can keep this straight because Brexit has become a circus.

On Tuesday, the Members of Parliament (MP) voted against British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit Deal. On Wednesday night, the MPs voted against leaving the European Union (EU) without a deal.

What a Catch-22. So this sets up a vote on Thursday to extend Brexit, but even if the MPs pass that, the EU has to approve it.

The Votes

The MPs voted 321-308 not to leave the EU without a deal.

After that, they voted on the Malthouse Compromise amendment, “brought forth by Tory backbenders, which stated that “the UK seek a short Article 50 extension and a ‘mutual standstill’ agreement with the EU lasting until December 2021 instead of Britain leaving with no-deal.” From The Telegraph:

The amendment requests an extension until May 22 – just before the European elections, during which a transition period to December 2021 would be negotiated (that is, one year longer than the current transition). At the end of that period, the UK would leave without a deal.

They voted this down 374-164. Even if the MPs voted yes, it wouldn’t have worked:

It’s based on a rather misguided understanding of how the Article 50 process works. The transition period is part of the Withdrawal Agreement. Without a withdrawal agreement (aka a no-deal Brexit) there is no legal basis for a transition period, and Britain would simply become a third country.

To get a transition period would require Britain to either sign up to the existing Withdrawal Agreement or negotiate a new one from scratch. The EU has been absolutely clear that it will not negotiate a new withdrawal agreement. It is not in Europe’s interest to prioritise the UK, which is leaving, over Ireland, a continuing member state.

The government then tried to get the no-deal back on the table, but the MPs voted no, 321-278.

MPs will vote on an extension to Article 50 on Thursday night.

May’s Response

May berated the MPs after the votes and provided them a dose of reality (emphasis mine):

“The House has today provided a clear majority against leaving without a deal.

“However I will repeat what I have said before. These are about the choices that this House faces.

“The legal default in UK and EU law remains that the UK will leave the EU without a deal unless something else is agreed.

“The onus is now on every one of us in this House to find out what that is. The options before us are the same as they always have been.

“We could leave with the deal this Government has negotiated over the past two years. We could leave with a deal we have negotiated but subject to a second referendum but that would risk no Brexit at all, damaging the fragile trust between the British public and the members of this House.

“We could seek to negotiate a different deal, however, the EU has been clear the deal on the table is indeed the only deal available.

“I also confirmed last night that of the House declined to approve leaving without a deal on the 29th March 2019 the Government would bring forward a motion on whether the House supports seeking to agree an extension to Article 50 with the EU which is the logical consequence of the votes over the past two days in this House.”

If the UK gets the extension, May reminded the MPs that “would undoubtedly require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May.”

Thursday’s Vote

The government will put this motion in front of the MPs tomorrow:

Labour responded:

Raising a point of order, Labour’s Mary Creagh (Wakefield) said: “But the business motion that you just read out at speed indicates that the Government is clearly making this House a prisoner of its deal because what it is saying is that we have to agree the deal by the 20th March and if we do that we get the extension that this House is clearly going to be voting for tomorrow.

“When will the Government allow this House to express any alternatives to the deal that the Prime Minister despite having been beaten twice is still trying to railroad through this place?”‘

Oh, I don’t know. How about listening to the will of the people? The people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU.

In my post on Tuesday, I provided evidence that it would not be the end of the world if the UK left the EU without a deal. If the UK leaves without a deal, then Britain would revert “to World Trade Organization (WTO) terms with the E.U. Business groups.”

The Telegraph quoted experts who agreed that it would be in the interest of the EU to cooperate with the UK after the country leaves. The UK has the fifth-largest economy in the world. I have no idea why the UK is groveling at the EU’s feet. It should be the other way around.

By the way, you can watch parliament on its YouTube page.

The Telegraph has an excellent live blog during the day you can follow.


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A war would’ve been shorter.

On which branch of government does it fall to call for a second vote to nullify the outcome of the original vote? Theresa May? House of Commons?

Is it possible to lawfully hold a second vote? Why are Brexit people not in court to stop the nullificationists?

    Milhouse in reply to Tiki. | March 13, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    In court on what grounds? Parliament is sovereign. The referendum happened because Parliament called it, and it has only that effect that Parliament gave it.

      Tiki in reply to Milhouse. | March 13, 2019 at 8:53 pm

      I’m bloody asking a simple question and you pop up with a snotty reply? Where do you get off being such a g-d jackass. Get over yourself, you smarmy jerk.

        Milhouse in reply to Tiki. | March 13, 2019 at 9:25 pm

        You asked a question, I answered it. Where do you get off with your hostile attitude? You’re the jackass, the jerk, the smarmy snotty ignoramus.

        If you ask why the “Brexit people” are not in court, you need to specify what grounds you think must exist for them to go there. If you wanted to ask whether they could go to court, you could have done so.

        Tiki: Let me try to be more helpful. I like being helpful. In legal terms, May IS the House of Commons, so it falls to the government to call a vote on having a second referendum, to be passed by Parliament… and it is lawful to have a second vote, and a third, and a tenth… but they won’t, because there’s no time left.

        They can’t go to court because the referendum was non-binding, and this was known from the beginning. It is morally and politically binding, but morality doesn’t matter and politics… well, that’s where the real disaster is. May has very little control over Parliament at this point. Thus, the easiest, and enormously tempting, option is for Parliament to just cancel Brexit, referendum be damned. They have every right and power to do so. It’s political suicide, but so is every other option.

          Tom Servo in reply to JBourque. | March 14, 2019 at 2:02 am

          Good points. It’s always a temptation for people in the US to think that the UK system is pretty similar – it isn’t. For starters, Parliament can pretty much do whatever it wants; there’s not much separation of powers.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Tiki. | March 13, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    1) British courts will not rule against those in power, so that is pointless.
    2) Both major parties really want to void the Referendum, both because they want to submit to the EU and because it was the nasty British equivalent of Deplorables who won.
    3) Since no Parliament can bind another, either or both major parties will either call for another Referendum [and the vote results are already compiled] or Parliament will simply pass a law voiding the original one. The British people will have no voice in what happens.
    4) At that point, it will be incumbent on us to decide what if any relationship we want to have with the formerly sovereign United Kingdom. If Any.

    Subotai Bahadur

      Milhouse in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | March 13, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      That is such bullsh*t. Especially the first claim. UK courts have never shown the slightest hesitation in ruling against those in power; they’re not about to start now.

    mailman in reply to Tiki. | March 14, 2019 at 3:36 am


    The Government or the opposition could introduce legislation to Parliament clearing the way for a second vote (it would actually be a THIRD referendum as Mays disastrous general election was the second referendum as she purposely went back to the people for another mandate even though she already had one to work with).

    However that won’t happen because the remainers have won so they have no need for a second vote. The UK will not be leaving the EU…end of story.

“The UK has the fifth-largest economy in the world.”

One thing to negotiate with an independent Britain, but entirely different to be able to control from within the EU. May can delay until the EU has a standing army and then let the final invasion commence. Throughout history England has been a prize be it by Europe or Scandinavia. “Owning” Great Britain is the goal.

    Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | March 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Throughout history England has been a prize be it by Europe or Scandinavia. “Owning” Great Britain is the goal.

    That didn’t work out so great for the Netherlands. The last time the UK was conquered was in 1788. William of Orange invaded, successfully took control, kicked out all MPs who opposed him, and then summoned Parliament to “invite” him to be the new king. (Since the victors write the history, it went down as a “revolution” rather than a conquest, and the official story tries to give the impression that the invitation came before the invasion, so that the invasion was just the already-king coming home with his army and putting down rebels.) Anyway, sounds great for the Netherlands, bad for the English, no? No. William established his new capital in London, so all the business houses of Amsterdam moved their headquarters to London. When he died childless, the UK went to his sister-in-law Anne, while the Netherlands went its own way, minus all the economic power, which stayed in the UK.

      moonmoth in reply to Milhouse. | March 13, 2019 at 10:47 pm

      The last time the UK was conquered was in 1788.


        Milhouse in reply to moonmoth. | March 14, 2019 at 12:41 am

        Yes, of course. I’m not sure whether that was just my finger slipping to the wrong key, or my brain confusing two significant events in the history of liberty that just happen to be 100 years apart. (Bear in mind that many of the US founders used to celebrate every year the anniversary of the Glorious Revolution, which they took as precedent for their own.)

          moonmoth in reply to Milhouse. | March 14, 2019 at 9:55 am

          I’m not sure whether that was just my finger slipping to the wrong key, or my brain confusing two significant events in the history of liberty that just happen to be 100 years apart.

          A simple mistake like that can have so many possible causes. The bad thing is that we often overlook them when we “proof-read” a post that we’ve just typed, because we tend to read what we were thinking, instead of what’s on the screen.

      alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | March 13, 2019 at 11:07 pm

      Ah….you missed the great contribution of William of Orange…Gin! Genever was brought over by him, and he encouraged the English to take “Dutch Courage” to a new level. With that at one time there were 15,000 gin joints in London. To celebrate i just poured a Hayman’s Old Tom gin on rocks and sipping as I type.

      The English got the better deal in the long run. Cheers!

Re: the Irish border. If the UK exits with no deal, then as I understand it there’s no reason the UK must put up border posts, but the threat is that under EU law Ireland will have to. Since nobody who lives on either side of that border wants this, the UK and Ireland both want a deal, whereas the rest of the EU doesn’t care, since it won’t inconvenience them.

The whole process is a sham. Both anti-Brexit camps EU/UK purposefully ran down the clock while BBC et al broke the will of the people – viatwo long years of never ending pro EU propaganda.

Of course the EU will grant a stay of their own execution.

She’s a loser. Either that, or she’s bought and paid for. Or both.

Antifundamentalist | March 13, 2019 at 9:17 pm

Parliament allowed the referendum. They should be held to the consequences of the results. The EU should just kick them out at the deadline, deal or no deal.

The EU will grant the extension but demand a billion dollars. That way the government can tell the people that extending is costing too much and that they need to just agree to stay.

Parliament was based on the idea that the will of the people, as expressed at the ballot box, mattered. It is somehow fitting that such a quaint notion would be put to rest at its point of origin. Welcome to the deep state; please enter on the left.

Paul In Sweden | March 14, 2019 at 4:46 am

So last night the motion for a no deal BRexit went to the floor only after an amendment was added which would prohibit a no deal BRexit under any circumstances. How does that make sense?

What was that idea that Guy Fawkes had way back when?

What are the amendments that MPs will be voting on?

Amendment A: Ruling out a no-deal Brexit completely

Tabled by Tory MP Caroline Spelman and Labour’s Jack Dromey this amendment rejects a no-deal Brexit at any time and under any circumstances.

It’s backed by a cross-party of senior MPs including Yvette Cooper and Sir Oliver Letwin.

The Government is whipping its MPs to vote against this motion, the result is expected to be tight.

–No Deal Brexit Vote: What Are MPs Voting On, What Time Is It And What Are The Odds Of A… – LBC
-RETRIEVED-Thu Mar 14 2019 09:36:29 GMT+0100 (Central European Standard Time)

    It makes perfect sense Paul, from a remain point of view.

    What they are doing is taking the only ammunition the UK has off the table. There is no no threat to the EU by them not bothering to negotiate with the UK as there is now no threat, no downside to not achieving a trade deal.

    What the MP’s have done is to undermine the UK ever leaving the EU. But they can do this without fear of recrimination or reprisals because the people of the UK are nothing more than sheep. They won’t riot or protest and no one will be held accountable.