Confusion in London: Brexit set for April 12 by legal default

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LONDON: MPs rejected May’s Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, leaving Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union in turmoil on the day it was originally due to leave the bloc. The UK is now set to exit on April 12 by legal default.

The United Kingdom Prime Minister, Theresa May, hopes to bring her Brexit deal back to parliament next week for a fourth attempt at gaining Member Parliaments’ (MPs) backing, British media has reported.

May will continue to seek support for her deal as MPs are set to hold another set of votes on various options on Monday, a government source told local media on Saturday.

Several leave-supporting Conservative MPs who had twice rejected May’s deal supported the agreement on Friday. But with the Labour Party and the Democratic Unionist Party opposed to the plan, a majority vote was unachievable.

In a statement directly after her deal was defeated, May indicated that the parliamentary process was running out of road. “I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House,” she said. However she indicated that the government would allow the process of “indicative votes” — outside the control of ministers — to continue next week.
On the other hand, Pro-Brexiters demonstrated around the Houses of Parliament in central London which resulted in five arrests, as several groups of protesters converged on Friday, on the day that the UK was originally meant to leave the European Union.
Marchers carried placards, bearing slogans including “No deal is better than a bad deal,” “Every nation has the right to self-determination” and “Leave means Leave.” Others chanted, “This country has turned into a dictatorship” and “we want our Brexit back.”
The demonstration followed on from an anti-Brexit protest that drew hundreds of thousands of attendees last Saturday.
A possible fourth attempt to persuade lawmakers to back her deal could be set against a softer version of Brexit in order to force an affirmative decision one way or the other.
European Union (EU) leaders have said the UK would have to provide a clear strategy in order to secure a longer extension.

This week, the British parliament held a series of non-binding votes on a number of alternative Brexit plans, in an attempt to see if a majority could be found for a new approach. Of the eight plans put to the vote, none won majority support.

May said MPs would continue on Monday to try and “see if there is a stable majority for a particular alternative version of our future relationship with the EU”, adding that any plan would also require parliamentarians to back the withdrawal agreement.

Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat MP, told the media that while May’s deal is “as dead as a dodo”, he was confident Parliament would take the initiative on breaking the Brexit impasse next week.