UK thrown into uncertainty as parliament rejects current deal for Brexit

UK thrown into uncertainty as parliament rejects current deal for Brexit

This evening, MPs rejected the proposed Brexit deal as it currently stands, sending the Government back to the drawing board. The "Brexit meaningful vote" (which was originally scheduled for December 11th, 2018, but had to be rescheduled to this week after ongoing debate) would have allowed Prime Minister Theresa May to set the wheels in motion for her exit strategy had it been approved, but this rejection has cast fresh doubt on the fate of the nation.

The result is hardly a surprise, however, as more than 100 Conservative MPs had previously voiced opposition to the current deal before the meaningful vote.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street on March 23, 2017 in London, England. The British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke last night after a terrorist attack took place in Westminster, saying Parliament would meet as normal today and 'We will come together as normal'. PC Keith Palmer and three others lost their lives in the attack and the perpetrator was shot dead by police. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

Ahead of the final vote, May appealed to the House of Commons to back her up, saying: "It is not perfect, but when the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House and ask, 'Did we deliver on the country's vote to leave the EU, did we safeguard our economy, security or union, or did we let the British people down?'"

Michael Gove, meanwhile, said that rejecting the deal would lead to a no-deal Brexit with short-term economic damage "or worse, no Brexit at all."

"If we don't vote for this agreement then we risk playing into the hands of those who do not want Brexit to go ahead," he said.

An EU flag and a Union flag held by a demonstrator is seen with Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) and the Houses of Parliament as marchers taking part in an anti-Brexit, pro-European Union (EU) march enter Parliament Square in central London on March 25, 2017, ahead of the British government's planned triggering of Article 50 next week. Britain will launch the process of leaving the European Union on March 29, setting a historic and uncharted course to become the first country to withdraw from the bloc by March 2019. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

Despite some strong support from her most loyal ministers, though, May lost out to others that were expected to be key players in the decision. Of course, one of the major pitfalls for May was her lack of support from the DUP, who refused to comply with a vote in favour for the deal on account of the Northern Irish backstop.

"[The backstop] does violence to the union - it separates us from the rest of the United Kingdom in a very very obvious way," said Democratic Unionist leader, Arlene Foster.

As it currently stands, the next steps for the Prime Minister - and, indeed, Britain as a whole - are unclear. It has been predicted that May will step down from her position following the result, as this was ultimately the last test of her capabilities in manoeuvring the Brexit negotiations.

A man carrying an anti-EU pro-Brexit placard shouts in a counter protest against pro-Europe marchers on a March for Europe demonstration against the Brexit vote in Parliament Square in central London on September 3, 2016. Thousands marched in central London to Parliament Square in a pro-Europe rally against the referendum vote to leave the European Union. / AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

Speaking to his party yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn condemned the deal and said that he would be calling for a general election in the event that it was rejected. He also propositioned another vote of no-confidence "soon".

At the same time, many (both in and out of parliament) are calling for a second referendum, especially given that a significant number of people have changed their minds on the matter since the initial vote in 2016. Some of the most recent polls show that only a minority of people believe we will get a good deal out of Brexit, and so another people's vote is perhaps on the cards.

Brexit is scheduled to take place on March 29th this year, so a decision on how to proceed must be reached by then.