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U.K. Parliament votes to rule out "no deal" Brexit

Theresa May
Theresa May. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The House of Commons on Wednesday voted 321-278 to reject the U.K. leaving the European Union without a deal.

The big picture: Parliament on Tuesday voted for the second time to reject Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, the only proposal currently on the table. On Thursday, May plans to bring a vote on extending negotiations past the March 29 deadline. That will be a tough sell in Brussels, which is also worried about a no deal outcome but only wants to give the U.K. an extension if given a clear path forward.

Our thought bubble: What should have been a fairly straightforward vote for the prime minister — taking no deal off the table ahead of the March 29 deadline — turned dramatic when an amendment to rule out no deal permanently narrowly passed, over May’s objections. She then insisted that no deal remains the default outcome if the deadlock isn’t broken. Now, resignations from ministers who defied May are expected. It seems she has truly lost control of Parliament.

The other side: The European Commission, increasingly frustrated by Parliament's paralysis, issued a statement responding to the latest developments.

"We take note of the votes in the House of Commons this evening. There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both. To take no deal off the table, it is not enough to vote against no deal — you have to agree to a deal. We have agreed a deal with the Prime Minister and the EU is ready to sign it."

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Brexit

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