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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

Theresa May loses symbolic Brexit vote in parliament

The vote undermines Mrs May's negotiating power in talks with the European Union

 A handout video-grabbed still image from a video made available by the UK Parliamentary Recording Unit shows MPs in the House of Commons following a vote on Prime Minister May's Brexit strategy in London, Britain. EPA
 A handout video-grabbed still image from a video made available by the UK Parliamentary Recording Unit shows MPs in the House of Commons following a vote on Prime Minister May's Brexit strategy in London, Britain. EPA

British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered another embarrassing defeat in a symbolic parliamentary vote on her Brexit strategy on Thursday, undermining her negotiating power in talks with the European Union to amend the agreement.

MPs voted by 303 to 258 to reject a motion asking them to support Mrs May’s plans for changes to her Brexit deal. Pro-Brexit members of her Conservative Party chose to abstain on the vote as they feared she was softening her position on a no-deal departure.

The defeat effectively strips May of her political power to demand changes to Brussels. Her office said in a statement her plan remains unchanged.

The vote – which comes a few weeks after Mrs May’s Brexit proposal was shot down in parliament in what was the largest defeat for a sitting government in history – shows that there is no clear majority for the prime minister’s course of action and further undermines her credibility at the negotiating table.

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, when the country could fall out of the bloc without an agreement. Since the withdrawal agreement was shot down in Parliament in January, Mrs May has been trying to amend the most contentious parts, which include a backstop guarantee for the Irish border.

Updated: February 20, 2019 05:00 PM

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