Mar 12, 2019

Theresa May's Brexit plan suffers another defeat as deadline looms

May last night following last-minute negotations in Strasbourg. Photo: Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, who spent weeks scrambling to make last-minute tweaks to her Brexit agreement with the European Union, saw her plan defeated once again in Parliament today. The margin was 242 to 391.

Why it matters: We are just 17 days away from "Brexit Day," when the U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU, and nowhere close to a deal. May has said she'll put forward two additional votes in the coming days — one on a so-called "no deal" Brexit, which is likely to fail, and one asking her to seek an extension to the negotiating period, which is likely to pass. Getting the EU to agree to an extension will be tricky, though, and pushing back the deadline won't get May any closer to a parliamentary majority.

The latest: Speaking through a hoarse voice after the result, May said she “profoundly” regrets that “the best and in fact the only deal available” was voted down. She announced that a vote on “no deal” would be held tomorrow, and said she would not pressure Conservative members to vote one way or the other.

  • May continued: "Let me be clear, voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face. The EU will want to know what use we mean to make of such an extension, and this House will have to answer that question." When May mentioned the scenarios, the idea of a second referendum was answered with cheers from one side and jeers from the other.
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke next, and said May must accept that her deal “is dead.” He added: “The prime minister has run down the clock and the clock has run down on her,” and suggested a general election might be needed to break the deadlock.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Brexit

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests as a "precautionary step" as his coronavirus symptoms have continued to persist 10 days after testing positive, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Why it matters: Johnson was the first major elected leader to test positive for the coronavirus. He was admitted on the same day that Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare televised address to the nation, urging the British people to confront the pandemic with the same "self-discipline" and "resolve" that has defined the country in times of crisis.

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Queen Elizabeth addresses U.K. amid coronavirus crisis: "We will meet again"

In a rare televised address on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II urged the United Kingdom to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the "self-discipline" and "resolve" that have defined the British people in moments of crisis.

Why it matters: It's just the fifth time that the queen, who traditionally speaks to the nation once a year on Christmas Day, has addressed the British people in this way during her 68-year reign.

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