Brexit Explained: UK Parliament votes to delay March 29 deadline

The British Legislators on 14 March 2019, voted to seek an extension of the March 29 deadline for Britain’s exit from the European Union, to negotiate a new withdrawal agreement. The motion was passed in the House of Commons with 412 votes in favor and 202 against.

The vote seeking a delay in Brexit follows a vote by the British Legislators on March 13, which rejected the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without having a withdrawal agreement in place. British Prime Minister Theresa May had tabled a government motion against a no-deal Brexit within the March 29 deadline, which was passed by the House of Commons with a majority of 43 votes as 321 MPs voted in favor and 278 voted against.

The UK Parliament on 12 March 2019 had overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a second time, delivering a massive blow to her efforts to see the withdrawal agreement through before the planned withdrawal of Britain from the European on March 29.

Key new changes:-

1. The newly introduced changes were expected to overcome legislators’ qualms about a mechanism in the deal designed to keep an open border between Britain’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
2. The new documents added to the deal provided legally binding changes to the part relating to the Irish border. The legal 585-page withdrawal agreement itself though was left intact.
3. The mechanism, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU until a permanent new trading relationship is in place.
4. However, May stated that the new changes guarantee that EU cannot act with the intent of applying the backstop indefinitely.
5. According to Brexit-supporters, the backstop could be used to bind the country to EU regulations indefinitely. Hence, they are demanding for a unilateral British exit mechanism from the backstop.

The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, two years after the Brexit referendum in June 2016 that triggered Article 50, the exit clause in the EU’s constitution and kick-started arduous negotiations with European leaders over a divorce deal.

The British Government has, however, not yet been able to win parliamentary approval for its agreement with the European Union on withdrawal terms and future relations. The deadlock has raised fears of a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit that could result in a major economic crisis and disruption for businesses and people both in Britain and the remaining twenty-seven EU nations.

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