LONDON — Members of Parliament have failed to find a majority for any of the alternatives to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, throwing the future of Brexit into doubt with just two weeks to go until the United Kingdom is due to leave.
The House of Commons cast their ballots in a series of nonbinding indicative votes designed to test if there was a majority for any alternatives to the prime minister’s own Brexit deal, which they have rejected twice before.
May would not have been legally bound to commit to implementing the result but would have been under huge political pressure to pursue a new Brexit plan, had MPs voted for it.
MPs failed to produce majority support for any of the options put forward on Wednesday evening.
However, calls for a new Brexit referendum and for the UK to negotiate a permanent customs union with the European Union both received significant levels of support ahead of another round of indicative votes next week.
The house voted on eight different Brexit options after backbench MPs moved on Monday to wrestle control of the House of Commons agenda from the government.
Options that were considered tonight were a no-deal Brexit, a Norway-style “soft” Brexit, customs-union membership, single-market membership, Labour’s alternative Brexit plan, the revocation of Article 50, and a confirmatory referendum on May’s Brexit deal.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said that the failure of MPs to agree on a plan proved that May’s deal was the “best” deal available.
However, opposition MPs pointed out that the prime minister’s deal has not received as many votes as calls for a new referendum and for a permanent customs union did on Wednesday evening.
Here is how MPs voted:
- No-deal Brexit — 160 yes, 400 no
- A Common Market 2.0 “soft” Brexit — 188 yes, 283 no
- Single-market membership via the European Economic Area — 65 yes, 377 no
- Customs-union membership — 264 yes, 272 no
- Labour’s alternative plan — 237 yes, 307 no
- Revoke Article 50 to avoid no-deal — 184 yes, 293 no
- A new referendum — 268 yes, 295 no
- A “managed” no-deal — 139 yes, 422 no.