British lawmakers approve Brexit delay but reject second referendum

UK lawmakers have rejected a move to give the British public a second referendum on Brexit.

Posted: Mar 14, 2019 6:40 PM
Updated: Mar 14, 2019 6:40 PM

UK lawmakers have voted in favor of delaying the Brexit process, acknowledging that more time is needed to break the deadlock over Britain's departure from the EU. But they decisively rejected a call for a second referendum.

Prime Minister Theresa May will now ask European leaders to grant an extension to Article 50, the legal process under which Britain is leaving the European Union. Unless a delay is approved by all 27 remaining EU leaders, Britain is heading for a chaotic exit on March 29.

May had reluctantly agreed to support a delay, after the House of Commons overwhelmingly rejected her imperiled withdrawal deal earlier this week. However, her offer is conditional on Parliament approving her plan when she puts it before MPs for a third time next week. She faces a monumental effort to turn around the huge opposition to the deal within her own party.

MPs approved her plan to postpone Brexit by 412 votes to 202. But in a sign of the divisions that continue to plague her Conservative Party, eight Cabinet ministers and 188 of her MPs -- more than half her parliamentary bloc -- voted against it.

Minutes after wrapping up the debate for the government, in which he urged Parliament to support the delay, her Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay did exactly the opposite. It was a striking act of defiance by the Cabinet minister responsible for delivering the Prime Minister's Brexit strategy.

In a rare moment of victory for Britain's embattled leader, May saw off a proposal for Parliament to take greater control of the Brexit process. A plan for MPs to seize control of parliamentary business next week, in order to vote on alternative Brexit plans, was rejected by two votes.

She was also buoyed by an emphatic defeat for supporters of a second Brexit referendum. MPs voted 334 to 85 against a second vote, after the opposition Labour Party told its MPs to abstain.

Huge battle ahead

May still faces a huge battle to overturn Tuesday's 149-strong majority against her deal. She must persuade 75 MPs to change their minds if she is to avoid further attempts by MPs to force an alternative Brexit plan on her government.

The Prime Minister has warned that, if MPs reject her deal a third time, a longer delay to Brexit will be required. That would force the UK to take part in elections to the European Parliament in May, and to continue paying in to the EU budget.

The threat of an extended delay to the UK's departure could help focus minds among Brexit-supporting lawmakers, including the 10 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) members who prop up her ruling Conservative Party.

May also hopes that her Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, can give further reassurances on the most contentious part of the deal, the so-called Irish backstop. There is no prospect of the EU agreeing to any changes to the deal.

Sour mood in Brussels

More than two years since Britain voted to leave the EU, its politicians are as divided as ever on how to move forward with Brexit.

The lack of clarity has soured the mood in Brussels. Some EU leaders have indicated their wariness to grant May an extension or renegotiate her deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday any extension to Brexit could only be "a technical delay to allow more time to put their departure in place."

Macron, who is currently in Kenya, added that the UK would need a purpose for the EU to grant any extension, so as "to ensure something will come out of it."

But European Council President Donald Tusk said on Twitter that he would appeal to the 27 EU leaders "to be open to a long extension if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it."

The EU responded cautiously to Thursday's developments. "We take note of tonight's votes," an EU Commission spokesman said. "A request for an extension of Article 50 requires the unanimous agreement of all 27 member states. It will be for the European Council (Article 50) to consider such a request, giving priority to the need to ensure the functioning of the EU institutions and taking into account the reasons for and duration of a possible extension," the spokesman added.

West Lafayette
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 50°
Kokomo
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 43°
Rensselaer
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 39°
Fowler
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 39°
Williamsport
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 44°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 46°
Frankfort
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 50°
Delphi
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 41°
Monticello
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 41°
Logansport
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 46°
Drier weather for now with temperatures still averaging above normal.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 318894

Reported Deaths: 5561
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion43391855
Lake27599462
Allen18363299
Elkhart17474226
St. Joseph17071234
Hamilton13376169
Vanderburgh9839121
Tippecanoe880629
Porter844886
Johnson6556169
Hendricks6267158
Vigo618187
Monroe542850
Clark522877
Madison5153122
Delaware5014103
LaPorte474695
Kosciusko468540
Howard357977
Warrick329872
Floyd324978
Bartholomew323563
Wayne318074
Marshall308146
Cass302631
Grant282050
Noble261546
Hancock260355
Henry252837
Boone248754
Dubois242931
Dearborn222631
Jackson222534
Morgan215543
Knox189720
Shelby189556
Gibson189426
Clinton182121
DeKalb181632
Lawrence179748
Adams171022
Wabash168121
Miami166614
Daviess160144
Steuben150713
Fayette150034
Jasper147413
Montgomery146627
Harrison145524
LaGrange145031
Whitley140814
Ripley138515
Huntington130910
Decatur128243
Wells127930
Putnam127828
White127522
Clay126523
Randolph126121
Posey124116
Jefferson122916
Scott112320
Greene104653
Jay100713
Sullivan99216
Starke94021
Jennings88714
Fulton86419
Spencer8588
Perry83721
Fountain8078
Washington7837
Franklin71327
Carroll69613
Orange69028
Vermillion6444
Owen6317
Tipton58927
Parke5886
Newton56912
Rush5658
Blackford54012
Pike51619
Pulaski41115
Martin3645
Benton3553
Brown3514
Crawford3031
Union2752
Switzerland2605
Warren2542
Ohio2337
Unassigned0266

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events