Theresa May’s Brexit deal was rejected by MPs in parliament on Tuesday, with 391 MPs voting against the deal, versus 242 in favour.
May had urged parliament to come together and support her deal, after securing what she believed were changes that would win the support of her fellow MPs.
The prime minister had made a last-minute trip to Strasbourg in order to once again try to reach a compromise which will help pass her Brexit deal through parliament today.
May met EU leaders in the French city as Downing Street insisted that the meaningful vote on her deal would be taking place on Tuesday as planned. The PM met with Juncker in one last bid to final bid to find a Brexit compromise.
After the meeting, May called for MPs to “come together” and back her deal, claiming she has secured legally binding changes which would convince those in parliament that fear the Irish border backstop could ‘trap’ the UK indefinitely.
However, in the final hours before the vote, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox issued legal advice which admitted that Britain could still be locked in the backstop indefinitely, adding that the “legal risk remains unchanged.”
May’s deal – what happens next?
Now that May’s deal has been voted down, the Commons will move on to further votes as set out by the prime minister in February. The first step will be to hold a vote on whether Britain should leave the EU without a deal – this will take place on Wednesday 13th March.
If parliament votes in favour of leaving the EU without a deal, then a ‘no deal Brexit’ will become reality the following day. If – which is far more likely – MPs vote against no deal, there will be a further vote on whether or not to extend article 50.
The request to extend article 50 will have to be agreed upon by EU leaders, in a vote which most believe will take place at a summit on 21 March. EU leaders have already indicated that they would support this, though the length of the extension to article 50 Britain would be granted is yet unclear.