UK lawmakers reject alternative Brexit plans again

UK lawmakers failed once again to find any way out of the Brexit deadlock after parliament rejected a series of alternatives to Theresa May’s withdrawal deal.

None of the four options on the non-binding ballot, which included a confirmatory referendum and remaining in the European Union’s single market, gained a majority on Monday.

The second or confirmatory referendum proposal had the most support among parliamentarians, with 280 votes.

But there were also fewer votes cast on all of the alternative Brexit options, with several abstentions. A plan for a customs union came within just three votes of a majority.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay reminded parliament that the default position was Britain crashing out of the EU on April 12 without a deal. He added that cabinet would decide how to move forward on Tuesday when they are expected to meet for a five-hour session.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a third round of indicative votes on Wednesday to break the impasse. He also admitted in being “disappointed” that all four options failed.

The stalemate comes after May’s deal was rejected three times. Even so, none of Monday’s so-called indicative votes got more support than the government’s Withdrawal Agreement did on Friday.

Shock resignation

May could bring her deal back for a fourth time, pitting it in a run-off against the two alternatives that gained the most support from MPs.

The embattled Prime Minister is attempting to navigate the split between a hardline group of euroskeptics in her party, calling for a clean break with the EU, and MPs pushing for a customs union amid fears of the economic consequences of a hard Brexit.

Lawmakers from the Conservative Party voted overwhelmingly against all four motions on Monday, suggesting the center of gravity among them is shifting towards May’s deal.

MP Nick Boles, the sponsor of the so-called Common Market 2.0. proposal, announced his resignation from the Conservative Party in the House of Commons moments after the results was revealed, citing the party’s unwillingness to work towards a Brexit compromise.

“I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion,” he said.

“I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise,” he said. “I regret therefore to announce I can no longer sit for this party.”

There were audible gasps from the Conservative benches as he made the announcement, with one voice saying, “oh, Nick, don’t go.”

He announced later on Twitter that he will sit as an “Independent Progressive Conservative.”