LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain was no nearer to resolving the chaos surrounding its departure from the European Union after parliament failed on Monday to find a majority of its own for any alternative to Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal.
After a tumultuous week in which May’s divorce strategy was rejected by lawmakers for a third time, despite her offer to quit if it passed, the future direction of Brexit remains mired in confusion.
In a bid to break the impasse, lawmakers on Monday voted on four last-minute alternative Brexit options for what is the United Kingdom’s most far-reaching policy change since World War Two. All were defeated.
The option that came closest to getting a majority was a proposal to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, which was defeated by three votes.
A proposal for a confirmatory referendum on any deal got the most votes, but was defeated by 292-280.
Brexit minister Steven Barclay said after the results were announced that the default position was still that Britain would leave the EU on April 12 without a deal, the nightmare scenario for many international businesses.
“The only option is to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal,” Barclay told parliament.
He hinted that May could put her deal to a fourth vote this week in the hope of securing an orderly exit before European elections are held from May 23 onwards.
“If the house were to agree a deal this week, it would still be possible to avoid holding European parliamentary elections,” Barclay said.