British lawmakers on Tuesday voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Lawmakers who supported the Brexit deal were 202, while a majority of 432 lawmakers voted against the deal; which meant the margin of vote: 230, was a comprehensive defeat for May.
The defeat was labelled the “biggest defeat of any government this century”, and the largest defeat since the 1920s.
Speaking after the vote, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, tabled a vote of no confidence motion, stating that the prime minister has not provided a true Brexit deal that the people of Britain desired.
May, who spoke earlier, admitted that her vote had been rejected by the parliament and conceded to face a no-confidence vote should the opposition party demand such.
“The house has spoken and the government will listen,” May said.
“It is clear that the house does not support this deal but tonight’s vote tells us nothing about what it does support.
If the Prime Minister loses the no-confidence vote in parliament on Wednesday, she would then have to vacate her position and a general election will be triggered.
However, if May survives the no-confidence vote, she has only three days to renegotiate with the European Union (EU) and present a new deal before the UK parliament by Monday.
The rejection of the deal will, no doubt, severely put on hold the progress made of an already chaotic negotiation between Britain and the EU over Brexit. And time is not favourable for the former as it is yet to formally endorse a deal just weeks before March 29, the day the country is expected to exit the European Union.
Jean Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission, emphasised on the issue of time in a statement he issued immediately after the Brexit vote, asking the United Kingdom to immediately “clarify its intention” on Brexit.
“I take note with regret of the outcome of the vote in the House of Commons this evening. I urge the UK to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up,” he said.
Juncker returned Tuesday to Brussels to deal with Brexit issues arising from the vote, amid signals May might be heading back to EU headquarters on Wednesday.
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council could, however, not hide his disgust over the outcome of the vote, wondering on Twitter what kind of Brexit deal the British parliamentarians wanted.
“If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” Tusk tweeted.
May postponed a vote on the deal in December to avoid certain defeat, and there were few signs ahead of Tuesday’s vote that sentiment had changed significantly since then.
She had warned the lawmakers that they either vote for her deal, which she insisted was the best deal available; or prepare for a no-deal situation, which may leave the country in a worse situation.
May would have, most likely, lost the vote based on the inclusion of a controversial clause; the “backstop”, that is designed to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
It, however, remains to be seen how Britain would be to draft a new agreement after the EU stated that it was not going to alter or renegotiate the deal.