Prime Minister Theresa May's motion passed by 321 votes to 278 against, though it was non-binding. On Thursday local time, UK Parliament will vote on whether Brexit should be delayed past the 29 March deadline.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on March 14, 2019

If the MPs vote to delay Brexit, May will then need to obtain approval from the EU for an extension. All 27 member states would need to sign off on a delayed exit.

“The house has provided a clear majority against leaving without a deal,” May said after the vote.

The Prime Minister pointed out, however, that the “legal defeat” is that the UK will leave the EU without any deal in place unless a compromise can be reached before the 29 March deadline.

May says onus is now on lawmakers to find a workable Brexit compromise before 29 March

“I will repeat what I have said before: these are about the choices this House faces,” May said.

“The onus is now on every one of us in this House is to find out what this is.

“The options before us are the same as they have been — we could leave with a deal that this Government has negotiated over the past two years.

“We could leave with a deal that we’ve negotiated but subject to a second referendum — but that would risk no Brexit at all, damaging the fragile trust between the British public and the members of this House.

“We could seek to negotiate a different deal, however the EU has been clear that the deal on the table is indeed the only deal available.”

The non-binding motion comes just a day after parliament rejected May’s second EU withdrawal deal.

A motion in favour of the so-called ‘Malthouse compromise’ was also soundly defeated. The compromise involves redrafting the backstop provisions and extending the transition period until 2021.

The prospect of a no-deal Brexit has business and investors wary

If no-deal Brexit does go ahead, there would be no trade or customs arrangements between the UK and the EU, potentially causing chaotic scenes at airports, ports and entry points and difficulties moving food and medicines between the two locations.

The government is planning a temporary but massive reduction on tariffs for almost all imports into the UK if a no-deal Brexit ends up happening. Authorities will also refrain from checking any goods being moved across the Irish border.

Some Britons have even been stockpiling supplies in anticipation of a messy transition. Commercial producers are also planning for possible shortages of wine and chocolate, among other food and drink.

Even the process of this vote was chaotic, with MPs initially promised a free vote but later being pressured into voting against the Prime Minister’s own amended motion. 17 conservative MPs defied May and party enforcers by voting for the motion anyway.

After news that MPs had rejected the idea of leaving the EU without a deal, the British pound rallied, climbing as high as $US1.338, its highest level since June 2018.