UK Parliament votes to delay Brexit, rejects second referendum

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 15, 2019 12:14 hrs
The Union Flag and European Union flags fly near the Elizabeth Tower, housing the Big Ben bell, during the anti-Brexit 'People's March for Europe', in Parliament Square in central London

London: The British Parliament on Thursday voted in favour of delaying the Brexit process beyond the scheduled date of March 29 and overwhelmingly rejected a call for a second referendum, plunging the country into political chaos.

The vote to delay the UK's exit from the European Union was passed by 412 votes to 202 in the House of Commons, which means the British parliamentarians acknowledged that more time is required to break the deadlock, amid the uncertainty surrounding the country's status in leaving the European bloc.

The motion now instructs British Prime Minister Theresa May to seek an extension to Article 50, the legal process under which the UK is leaving the European Union. Unanimous approval is needed from the remaining 27 EU member countries if there is a delay beyond March 29, CNN reported.

May is likely to seek the extension at a European Council summit in Brussels on March 21, after her controversial deal was rejected by the House of Commons for the second time on Tuesday.

Apart from this, British lawmakers rejected a motion to support a second referendum on Brexit by 334 votes to 85. The vote was indicative and would not have been legally binding if it was passed in the House of Commons, according to CNN.

The parliamentarians also narrowly rejected an amendment giving the British Parliament power to take control of the Brexit process from May's administration. The vote was dismissed by 314 votes to 312.

The motion would have given the lawmakers, instead of the British government, the opportunity to control the parliamentary agenda, which includes negotiations on Brexit without a time limit.

British lawmakers on Wednesday voted to reject a no-deal Brexit, which allows the UK to leave the EU without any agreement. The motion was rejected by 321 votes to 278.

May had earlier warned that the Brexit process could be delayed longer if her agreement was rejected for the third time. If that happens, it would force the UK to elect members to the European Parliament in the elections slated to be held in May.