No velvet divorce

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Just 17 days before the Brexit was due to take effect, the British parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal agreed with the European Union for a second time. The House of Commons voted by 391 to 242 to reject the divorce deal.

The Brexit referendum that delivered a narrow 52:48 result two years ago points to sharp divisions in today’s UK. The January vote on the agreement reached between the two parties was voted down by a margin of 230.  The Tuesday vote however saw the leavers softening their stance as the ‘no’ tally was reduced to 149. A Eurosceptic former minister Edward Leigh said: “you may not like the deal, it’s not perfect, but it delivers Brexit and let’s go for it.”

The no-deal means economic uncertainty for Britain that will end ties with its biggest trade partner after 46 years on March 29.

Former foreign minister Boris Johnson was seen advocating for the seemingly more difficult route but that preserves the self-respect. He said he was looking forward to an independent country that is able to make its own choices.

The PM will now hold a parliamentary vote on whether MPs want to leave the EU without a deal, possibly followed by another one asking whether they want an extension in the Brexit, in which case the extension request shall need to go back to the 27 EU countries whose leaders are scheduled to meet in Brussels on March 21-22.

The Guardian suggests for the PM May to buy time from the EU. “It would be practical, since the European Union will be consumed by elections and recomposing the commission between May and October. Such a postponement ought to give relief to UK businesses suffering from the current uncertainty,” the paper writes.  But the EU has made it clear that there is no third chance for the UK.

May also said the EU would want to know what use that delay would be put to. The UK probably has no answer, at least for now.

The EU chief has made it clear that he would like to see any postponement to be complete before the European elections at the end of May.

As the UK parliament prepares to vote on the next course of action, its currency has taken a dip against the rival Euro – signs of time to come, maybe.