MPs reject Brexit plans again in boost for May

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Stephen Barclay enters Downing Street

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Stephen Barclay enters Downing Street

The first motion, calling for the government to negotiate a permanent customs union with the EU, was defeated by 276 votes to 273. According to 2011′s Fixed-term Parliaments Act, Parliament automatically dissolves every five years, but a general election can be called earlier if a vote of no confidence passes the House of Commons by a simple majority but no party can win confidence over the next 14 days or if two-thirds of the 650 lawmakers in the House of Commons vote to hold a general election.

The government is still trying to build support for Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, which has been rejected three times by Parliament.

The text of the proposal urged the Government to negotiate a "permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU" in any Brexit deal.

The U.K.'s deadlocked Parliament failed to agree on a new blueprint for Brexit, rejecting all the options that were put forward to replace Theresa May's unpopular deal.

Frustrated with her approach, MPs last week gave themselves powers to find an alternative strategy, by holding so-called "indicative votes" on a range of different Brexit options.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay hinted the government could now bring its deal back for a fourth vote this week and avoid a longer delay to Brexit that would mean holding European Parliament elections in May.

When MPs meet again on Wednesday "the United Kingdom has a last chance to break the deadlock or face the abyss", Verhofstadt said.

The political deadlock in London forced May to ask for a delay but as things stand, Britain will now depart at 2200 GMT on April 12 - unless May can present another viable option to European Union leaders holding an emergency Brexit summit on April 10.

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Anand Menon, professor of European politics at King's College London, told AFP that Tuesday's cabinet meeting would be "relatively upbeat".

Jens Geier, a German member of the European Parliament, said that there was a "ridiculous self-blockade in the British parliament" and that the EU could only agree to an extension of the Brexit deadline beyond April 12 if there was a second referendum. "MPs aren't quite sure on that, particularly MPs in the Conservative party, who really want that control and that ability to make trade deals with the rest of the world".

Common Market 2.0 (D): The UK stays in the European Economic Area and rejoins the European Free Trade Association, giving it access to the EU single market. It was beaten by 282 votes to 261. Numerous ideas have returned for a second attempt, with the Speaker, John Bercow, responsible for selecting which can be put to a vote.

Nick Boles, the MP who had proposed the Common Market 2.0 plan, quit May's Conservative Party after the vote. "I accept I have failed. I regret therefore to announce I can no longer sit for this party", he said.

The Conservatives rely on backing from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists for a narrow majority, which shrunk even further with Boles' departure.

A 10 Downing Street spokesman said: "We are committed to delivering the Brexit deal - which does not include membership of the custom union".

The Daily Mirror called it "another night of division and despair".

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