UK parliament votes to rule out no-deal Brexit

The UK parliament has decided to work towards avoiding a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, after its members voted on the issue this evening (Wednesday, March 13).

The vote was originally on a motion to prevent a no-deal Brexit taking effect on March 29. However, an amendment to that motion was passed earlier in the evening, which meant that the original motion was changed so as to refer to a no-deal scenario in general – not just on that deadline date.

The motion, with the new amendment in place, was eventually passed by 321 votes to 278; a margin of 43 votes.

The vote this evening commits the parliament to working towards achieving a deal of some kind before it leaves the EU; this may entail the country requesting an extension to the March 29 deadline.

In the House of Commons after the vote, Prime Minister Theresa May said that the only way to ensure that ‘no deal’ was off the table was to vote for a deal.

Yesterday evening (Tuesday, March 13), the parliament voted to reject the withdrawal agreement that was negotiated between the UK and the EU late last year.

The deal was voted down by a margin of 149 votes; 391 members of parliament voted no, while only 242 declared in favour of the agreement.

This was despite the EU offering the UK a number of assurances on the Irish backstop, including giving the country the right to unilaterally scrap the backstop if there was no movement on finding an alternative after a defined period.

Tariff regime

This morning, the UK revealed the tariff regime that it would implement in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Responding to this announcement, Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said that his department is conducting a “detailed exercise of analysis” on the effects this regime would have for Ireland.

However, he added: “It’s not a pretty picture; there’s no point sugarcoating this.

“We have a team from the department in Brussels now, on foot of this announcement, working on what kind of interventions would be required if this was to become a reality,” he said.