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Uk Parliament votes to seek Article 50 extension

IANS  |  London 

The voted 413-202 to instruct to ask the EU for a delay that would give the UK's fractious political class time to forge a plan for an orderly Brexit, raising the prospect that Britain will remain part of the bloc beyond March 29 deadline.

May, who vowed repeatedly that the UK would leave the (EU) on March 29 without or without a deal in place, finds herself forced to abandon that stance after a series of high-stakes votes in the House of Commons, news reported.

On Tuesday, the House rejected for a second time the draft May negotiated with the EU.

The following day saw many of the Prime Minister's Conservative colleagues join opposition lawmakers to approve a non-binding motion against exiting the EU without an agreement under any circumstances.

That outcome triggered Thursday's vote on instructing the government to formally request a delay.

The reminded on Thursday that all 27 other EU member-states would need to approve an extension of the UK's withdrawal under Article 50.

In considering whether to grant a delay, the 27 national leaders would give "priority to the need to ensure the functioning of the EU institutions and taking into account the reasons for and duration of a possible extension," a commission said.

A decision on the UK request will be made at next week's meeting of the European Council, the said.

May said that the will have one more opportunity to vote on the draft before the March 21-22 EU summit.

If lawmakers approve the text - which they previously rejected by margins of 202 and 149 votes - the plans to seek a "limited technical extension" of three months that would give Parliament time to approve the necessary legislation.

Should the reject the a third time, May said it would be necessary to pursue a "much longer" extension that would require the UK to participate in the May 23-26 European

Comments from senior EU figures point to a possible reluctance to grant an extension unless they see some sign that UK politicians will be able to reach the consensus on that has eluded them since the success of the "Leave" vote in the 2016 referendum.

Before approving the motion to ask the EU for more time, the voted down Thursday an amendment to seek a much longer extension for the purpose of holding a second referendum on

The amendment failed 334-85, as members of the main opposition Labor Party withheld support on the instructions of Jeremy Corbyn, who said that while he supports giving voters another chance to express an opinion on Brexit, now was not the appropriate time to decide the matter.

Another amendment, brought forward by a multiparty group of lawmakers, was intended to assert parliamentary control over the process.

That proposal fell short by just two votes.

The main sticking point for many opponents of the Withdrawal Agreement is concern that the provision to prevent the return of a hard border between EU member and the UK province of would trap Britain in a permanent customs union with the bloc.

May traveled to Strasbourg, France, late Monday in pursuit of some movement from the EU on what is known as the Irish backstop.

At a midnight press conference, May and announced what the Conservative prime minister's government called a "legally binding instrument on the Withdrawal Agreement and protocol on "

Yet the UK said later that the last-minute "clarifications" reduced - but did not eliminate - the risk that the country could be indefinitely bound to the Irish backstop.

The Democratic Unionist Party, a right-wing outfit from that props up the Conservative minority government, dismissed the latest EU text as insufficient.

And hard-line Brexiters inside the Conservative Party, led by the European Research Group, were likewise unpersuaded by the changes presented in

EU leaders have been adamant on the need to avoid a hard border in Ireland, something that many people fear would undermine the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of strife in Northern Ireland between pro-British unionists and Irish nationalists.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 03:14 IST
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