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Europe

EU warns of 'disorderly' Brexit after crushing parliamentary defeat to May's withdrawal deal

media Prime Minister Theresa May addresses parliament in London ahead of vote on Brexit deal, 15 January 2019. Photo: Reuters

The European Union warned on Tuesday night that a vote in the British parliament rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal risks a “disorderly withdrawal” from the European bloc. British lawmakers overwhelming voted down May’s Brexit divorce with 432 votes to 202 in a key parliamentary vote.

“The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom has increased with this evening’s vote,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU Commission.

Juncker said he noted the outcome of the British parliamentary vote with “regret” and said the agreement was the “best possible deal”.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, went further to suggest that the only answer was the UK remaining in the EU after all.

“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, shortly after the vote.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn submitted a motion of no-confidence in May’s government shortly after the vote, describing the rejection of the deal as a “catastrophic defeat”. Corbyn’s motion will be debated on Wednesday.

May said if she survives a no confidence motion she will hold meetings with the Democratic Unionist Party and senior parliamentarians to “identify what would be required to secure the backing” of parliament.

The British prime minister said she will focus on ideas that are “genuinely negotiable” and can gain sufficient parliamentary support. If meetings “yield such ideas” the UK government would then discuss them with the EU, May said in a speech to parliament after Tuesday’s vote.

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