Brexit in disarray | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:00 AM, March 27, 2019

Brexit in disarray

UK parliament plots Brexit Plan B after sidelining PM

♦ Mps vote for bigger role in Brexit process

♦ Three junior ministers quit UK govt 

♦ DUP to vote against May's Brexit deal

Britain's parliament sought a new Brexit approach yesterday after seizing the initiative from Prime Minister Theresa May in a historic vote taken to stave off a looming "no-deal" divorce.

Lawmakers exasperated by Britain's failed efforts to split from the European Union after three years of debates and negotiations voted Monday to give themselves a broader say on what happens next.

The motion creates parliamentary time for MPs to come up with their own proposals in place of the ill-loved deal May struck with Brussels at the end of last year.

The unprecedented measure passed by a 329-302 margin and saw three junior ministers quit the government to vote against the premier.

Richard Harrington said he resigned as business minister because May's course and the resulting impasse had left Britain with "a democratic deficit".

Junior foreign minister Alistair Burt said he quit to help the House of Commons "come to a conclusion for the country's sake".

The measure was backed primarily by europhiles who want to either reverse Brexit or preserve much closer economic ties with the remaining 27 EU states.

No one is entirely sure how parliament will approach its new role in the week the 46-year partnership was scheduled to have ended.

EU leaders pushed back Brexit day to April 12 after meeting May in Brussels last week and deciding that Britain still did not know what it wanted to do.

The proposed agenda submitted to parliament Tuesday would see MPs first pick through an array of choices today.

The biggest worry for May is a mooted plan for parliament in the following days to take an even firmer grip of the Brexit agenda by passing legislation that forces the government's hand.

Parliament's initial votes will be non-binding instructions that only carry political weight.

May has already signalled that she might ignore them if they contradict her Conservative party's 2017 election platform. It included a vow to take Britain out of the EU customs union and single market -- the two vast organisations that open borders and regulate trade across most of the European continent.

Parliament is now effectively re-considering how to go about Brexit all over again.

But there are some hints that the current political shift could be scaring some of the rebels into line.

Brexit hardliner Jacob Rees-Mogg -- who heads the ultra-conservative European Research Group (ERG) group in May's party -- conceded on a political podcast on Tuesday that "Mrs May's deal is better than not leaving at all".

But Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that supports May in parliament continues to oppose the agreement.

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