British MPs debate Brexit alternatives for new round of Parliament votes

Pro-Brexit supporters face police officers securing the gates of Downing Street in central London

British MPs will try again to chart a new Brexit course on Monday after rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May's deal for a third time, but the European Union warned its patience was wearing thin.

Either option would only be viable if the European Union granted another delay, and the default, if nothing is settled earlier, remains a no-deal exit on April 12. Mrs May has previously said she does not wish the United Kingdom to take part in those elections. It is likely to get a majority today.

Two of the four options - chosen by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow from eight submissions - aim to keep Britain in a close economic relationship with the bloc after Brexit.

One solution that could prove popular based on the ways that MPs have been voting is for the Common Market 2.0 option, the customs union, and the second referendum to be rolled out together.

Opponents of Brexit fear it will make Britain poorer, less open and divide the West as it faces the rise of China and growing assertiveness of Russian Federation.

British lawmakers plan another round of votes Monday to see whether they can come to an agreement on a way for Britain to leave the bloc.

In a statement to members after the vote, May said Parliament would take a series of indicative votes on April 1-with another round possible on April 3-to consider alternative options.

May had already ruled out all the ideas under consideration.

But the divorce deal she negotiated with the European Union has been rejected by Parliament three times, leaving Britain less than two weeks from a chaotic no-deal Brexit.

But it has been roundly rejected by lawmakers on both sides of Britain's Brexit divide.

This motion would require a public vote to confirm any Brexit deal passed by Parliament before its ratification.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on April 12 without an agreement unless it passes a divorce deal or secures an extension from the bloc.

A jogger gives the middle finger to a pro Brexit demonstrator outside the Houses of Parliament in London
A jogger gives the middle finger to a pro Brexit demonstrator outside the Houses of Parliament in London

In a sign of her waning authority, it was written by Brexit Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, according to The Times.

Legislators voted 292 to 280 against the plan of holding a new referendum, while a cross-party customs union idea was rejected by 276 to 273 votes.

Sterling rose on investor hopes that May would be forced to go for a softer Brexit than planned.

Equally, there could be crisis if the government refuses to acknowledge parliament's preferred option.

"In any other circumstance, they would have rolled her by now, either formally or informally", said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London.

The impasse is raising expectations that lawmakers could try to trigger a snap election in the hope a new configuration in Parliament would break the Brexit logjam. It follows repeated calls by Labour for a general election, with deputy leader Tom Watson telling the BBC yesterday the party was on an "election footing".

He said the Cabinet will meet on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) to discuss options. Slack said the prime minister "believes there is a majority in the House for leaving in an orderly way with a deal", and her agreement was the best on offer.

"Brexit is a shitshow, I'll say it quite undiplomatically", he said.

The chief executive of industrial manufacturer Siemens U.K. implored lawmakers to unite around a compromise deal, saying "Brexit is exhausting our business and wrecking the country's tremendous reputation as an economic powerhouse".

In order to continue to fly smoothly in Europe post Brexit, EasyJet has also set up three airline divisions split between Austria, Britain and Switzerland.

But European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters in Saarbruecken, Germany that "if the British haven't left by April 12 and there is an extension, then Britain must take part in the European election".

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