Britain is slated to leave the EU with or without a deal – the decision now lies with the EU, who said earlier this week that Britain must justify any delay.
Britons voted to leave the EU nearly three years ago, yet many lawmakers and Britons themselves have complained that the country is not ready. A no-deal Brexit could have major implications for businesses and borders in the UK and the 27 EU countries.
Prime Minister Theresa May has presented two Brexit deals that have been twice rejected by parliament, but has indicated that she will try a third time to get backing for her agreement.
A raft of votes on Thursday were not totally negative for the Prime Minister however – parliamentarians narrowly voted not to strip her of control over Brexit, with a tally of 314-312 votes.
Lawmakers also largely voted not to hold a second referendum, an idea that many Britons have pushed for, with a vote of 334-85. Campaigners who have pushed for a new referendum could push a proposal later, however.
Twelve minsters on Wednesday abstained rather than support May’s quest to keep a no-deal Brexit an option, while another resigned after voting against her.
If the EU approves the delay – which would need a unanimous vote of all 27 EU member states, this will enable the prime minister to enact legislation to ensure Brexit.
But if May’s deal is not approved, parliament has the option to vote on other aspects, including a closer relationship with the EU – which the British government does not want. This would be voted upon in parliament to see if this option could get a majority of votes.