EU Official Says ‘No-Deal’ Vote Wont Halt Brexit

The European Commission is warning Britain’s Parliament that voting against Brexit happening without a withdrawal deal in place isn’t enough and lawmakers must approve the deal, too.

An official from the EU’s executive branch noted Wednesday that the bloc already reached a divorce deal with Prime Minister Theresa May and the House of Commons rejected it – twice.

The official asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the unresolved situation.

Parliament voted Wednesday night to reject leaving the EU as scheduled on March 29 if it hasn’t approved an agreement.

The EU official said: “There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both. To take no deal off the table, it is not enough to vote against no deal – you have to agree to a deal.”

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9 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says Parliament will vote Thursday on whether to seek a delay to Britain’s March 29 departure from the European Union.

May said lawmakers are at the point where they must approve a withdrawal agreement in coming days and request a short postponement to Brexit day or request a “much longer” extension from the EU to negotiate a new arrangement.

The prime minister warned that a long extension would mean Britain would have to take part in European Parliament elections in late May.

She says this is not her preferred outcome and urged Parliament to “face up” to the consequences of the decisions it has made.

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8:20 p.m.

Britain’s Parliament has voted to reject having the country leave the European Union without a divorce agreement, a decision that lessens but does not remove the chance of a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit.

The vote Wednesday night also increases the chances that Britain’s exit from the bloc will be delayed.

British lawmakers voted 312 to 308 for a motion that “rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future relationship.”

The vote has political but not legal force. A no-deal Brexit could still happen unless Britain and the EU ratify a divorce agreement or Britain decides to cancel its departure.

British lawmakers now plan to vote Thursday on whether to ask the EU to delay the country’s March 29 departure day.

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