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More Brexit embarrassment for May as parliament defeats her again

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 15, 2019 - Duration: 01:39s

More Brexit embarrassment for May as parliament defeats her again

Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a defeat on her Brexit strategy on Thursday that undermined her pledge to European Union leaders to get her divorce deal approved if they grant her concessions.

Megan Revell reports.

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More Brexit embarrassment for May as parliament defeats her again

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BERCOW, SAYING: "So, the Nos have it, the Nos have it." Another parliamentary defeat for British Prime Minister Theresa May - and her Brexit strategy - on Thursday (February 14).

In a show of muscle, hardline Brexiteers in her own party abstained from voting, handing May an embarrassing, albeit symbolic, loss as she tries to renegotiate her deal with the EU.

Talks are currently at an impasse over the Northern Irish backstop - an insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland if no trade agreement can be found.

The bloc has repeatedly said there can be no changes to the withdrawal agreement which contains the backstop.

While the result doesn't force the government to change tack, it will undermine the confidence the EU has in May being able to win enough support at home for a revised agreement.

France's Europe minister said Friday (February 15) that Britian needs to hurry up, and make up its mind: (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH EUROPE MINISTER, NATHALIE LOISEAU, SAYING: "I'd like to tell our British friends that it's time to decide if they want to leave on friendly terms or leave abruptly.

It's their choice." The latest twist underlines the deep divisions in British parliament.

Unless May can get a deal approved, she will have to decide whether to delay Brexit or leave without a deal - a nightmare scenario for many businesses that could throw the world's fifth largest economy into chaos.

Two of the titans of Wall Street have starkly different views of what the outcome might be.

Goldman Sachs sees a 50 percent chance a divorce deal being ratified, whereas JPMorgan predicts a delay, and that May will seek an extension to the March 29 deadline.

The big date on the horizon, now, is February 27, when May is due to return to parliament and lawmakers fearful of a "no deal" scenario could try to seize control of the exit process.

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