Live: Reaction after MPs reject Withdrawal Agreement for third time

The British Parliament voted to reject Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. The ‘Noe’ lobby came out on top with 344 votes to 286.

On hearing the news, EC president Donald Tusk has convened a meeting of the council on April 10.

UK is due to leave the EU on 12 April, which is too soon to formulate a deal - therefore an alternative way forward must be sought.

A second round of 'Indicative Votes' will be held on Monday in an attempt to get a clear result on a scenario that will gain major support in the house.

May says the UK will "almost certainly" be required to take part in European Elections.

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What was the motion being debated?

The motion debated on Friday was as follows:

That this House notes the European Council Decision of 22 March 2019 taken in agreement with the United Kingdom extending the period under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, which provides for an extension to the Article 50 period to 22 May 2019 only if the House of Commons approves the Withdrawal Agreement by 29 March 2019;

notes that if the House does not do so by that date the Article 50 period will only as a matter of law be extended to 12 April 2019 and that any extension beyond 22 May 2019 would require the UK to bring forward the necessary Day of Poll Order to hold elections to the European Parliament;

notes that Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement refers to the Political Declaration between the UK and EU agreed on 25 November 2018, but that the EU has stated it remains open to negotiating changes to the Political Declaration;

notes that the House is currently undertaking deliberations to identify whether there is a design for the future relationship that commands its support;

notes that even should changes be sought to the Political Declaration, leaving the European Union with a deal still requires the Withdrawal Agreement;

declares that it wishes to leave the EU with an agreement as soon as possible and does not wish to have a longer extension;

therefore approves the Withdrawal Agreement, the Joint Instrument and the Unilateral Declaration laid before the House on 11 March 2019 so that the UK can leave the EU on 22 May 2019;notes that this approval does not by itself meet the requirements of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act;

and resolves that it is content to proceed to the next steps of this process, including fulfilling section 13 of this Act.

Last-gasp effort

The rushed nature of recent proceedings was largely due to the following EU stipulation from the European Council conclusions of 21 March. The key section (3) reads:

"The European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week. If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week , the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward before this date for consideration by the European Council."

From this article, it is implicit that parliament had to, therefore, gain approval for the Withdrawal Agreement by end of play Friday. They did not

READ MORE: What’s in Theresa May's Brexit deal and why is it so unpopular?

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Reactions

While May has cleverly separated the two parts of the Brexit deal to get it approved for a third vote by the speaker John Bercow, some MPs are still not buying it.

Mp Liz Saville Roberts from the Welsh party Plaid Cymru said her party would be voting against it because "voting for the Withdrawal Agreement without Political Declaration would be a leap in the dark."

The Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake questioned the legality of the vote even though attorney general Geoffrey Cox said the vote was lawful.

But others like MP Lucy Allan tried to persuade her colleagues to vote for Friday’s deal.

However, May’s latest move is not enough to convince Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn who called for a general election.