Theresa May Suffers Another Parliament Defeat Over Her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement
Theresa May has suffered yet another setback in her attempts to get her Brexit deal through Parliament. MPs have rejected her deal - or at least part of it - for a third time after yet another vote in the House of Commons.
This time around, it went down by 286 votes for to 344 against. Closer, sure, but not enough.
Obviously, it was supposed to be all over by now. Today - 29 March - had been earmarked to be the day that the UK left the European Union. It's fair to say that it hasn't quite turned out that way.
So, why have we had a third vote if the first two didn't pass though? Well, according to Theresa May and her government, this is a slightly different question.
You might remember that Speaker of the House John Bercow said that the deal couldn't be voted upon a third time, at least not in exactly the same format. Here's where things get really obtuse.
Today, rather than a simple yes or no vote on whether MPs would back Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement and the accompanying political declaration, they voted just on the first part - the Withdrawal Agreement.
The political declaration, which is a document detailing the future relationship between the EU and the UK is not up for discussion or vote today.
A defeat always looked likely after both Labour and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party said that they would not be supporting May's deal.
Stick that alongside the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, and some hard-line Brexiteers in the Conservative Party who think her deal doesn't go far enough, and you've got a recipe that spells disaster for the Prime Minister.
Despite performing better than she has done in the other votes, this could spell the end for the Withdrawal Agreement as May negotiated it.
Right, so what does this all mean?
As you've probably guessed, it's not exactly clear.
You might also remember that Parliament had a selection of indicative votes earlier this week on different approaches to the Brexit question. None managed to receive enough backing in the house to be a credible alternative to the Prime Minister's deal.
One thing that is for sure is that the prospect of the UK leaving without a deal is still very much on the table.
The EU have been clear that if the deal is not accepted, the UK will have until 12 April to decide whether they will stand candidates in the European Parliament elections this May. Any failure to secure something by then could mean a longer delay to the Brexit process, or crashing out with no arrangements in place.
Here we go again.
Featured Image Credit: PA