London, UK: British MPs have voted to reject leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. Theresa May said there was a “clear majority” against a no-deal Brexit but the “legal default” was that the UK would leave without a deal on 29 March if no deal is reached.
MPs will now get a vote on delaying Brexit, said the prime minister.
That vote will take place on Thursday, and if it is passed – and the EU agrees to it – the UK will not leave the EU as planned on 29 March.
The government tabled a motion to prevent the UK from exiting the EU on 29 March without a withdrawal agreement.
But before MPs voted on that, they backed an amendment rejecting a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances – by just four votes.
This dramatic development led to the government ordering Conservative MPs to vote against its own motion.
But the government motion, as amended, was passed by 321 votes to 278, reinforcing the message that MPs do not want to leave without a deal.
MPs also voted by 374 to 164 to reject a plan to delay the UK’s departure from the EU until 22 May, 2019 so that there can be what its supporters call a “managed no-deal” Brexit.
This amendment was proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May’s former second-in-command, Conservative MP Damian Green, and was backed by prominent Conservative Brexiteers and Remainers.
It was known as the Malthouse Compromise – after Kit Malthouse, the government minister who devised it.