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Parliament thrown into fresh chaos as MPs again reject all alternatives to Theresa May's deal

3 min read

Parliament has plunged into more Brexit confusion after MPs once again failed to back any possible alternatives to Theresa May's deal.

On another night of Commons drama, none of the four options managed to secure a majority.

Tory grandee Ken Clarke's call for a permanent customs union with the EU came closest to victory, losing by 276 to 273.

A plan to hold a second EU referendum on whatever deal Parliament backs, tabled by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, received the most votes with 280, but was opposed by 292 MPs.

Meanwhile, Tory MP Nick Boles saw his plan for a so-called "Common Market 2.0" Norway-style soft Brexit beaten by 282 votes to 262.

And SNP MP Joanna Cherry's demand for Article 50 to be revoked lost by 292 votes to 191.

It is the second time of a majority MPs have failed to agree on any alternatives to the Prime Minister's deal and increases the chances of the UK either leaving without a deal on 12 April or being forced to seek a lengthy extension from the EU.

Responding to the result, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said: "The default legal position is that the UK will leave the EU in just 11 days' time. To secure any further extension the Government will have to put formward a credible propositiion to the EU as to what we will do with that extra time.

"This House has continuously rejected leaving without a deal, just as it has rejected not leaving at all. Therefore the only option is to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal.

"The Government continues to believe that the best course of action is to do so as soon as possible. If the House were to agree a deal this week, it would still be possible to avoid holding European Parliament elections. 

"Cabinet will meet in the morning to consider the results of tonight's votes and how we should proceed."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said MPs should be allowed to have another chance to agree a way forward on Wednesday.

He said: "It's disappointing that no solution has won a majority this evening, but I remind the House that the Prime Minister's unacceptable deal has been overwhelmingly rejeected three times. 

"The margin of defeat for one of the options was very narrow indeed and the Prime Minister's deal has been rejected by very large majorities on three occasions.

"If it's good enough for the Prime Minister to have three chances at her deal, then I suggest that possibly the House should have the chance to consider again the options we had before us today in a debate on Wednesday so that the House can succeed where the Prime Minister has failed in presenting a credible economic relationship Europe for the future that prevents us from crashing out with no deal."

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