Brexit: Parliament again set to vote on E.U. divorce options – NBC News

LONDON — When it comes to Brexit, lawmakers seem to be clear on what they don’t want. But will they ever agree on what they do want?

On Monday, Parliament will again vote on a potential way forward on the divorce from the European Union.

The eight non-binding motions — known here as indicative votes — are designed to test whether there is any one Brexit option that lawmakers will support. They range from throwing the approval for a withdrawal agreement and future relationship with the E.U. back to the people in a second referendum, to leaving the bloc without an agreement — something many business leaders warn would deeply damage the country’s economy.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she would step down if Parliament passes the deal she negotiated with the E.U.Simon Dawson / Reuters

Another option that lawmakers could support on Monday is the U.K. joining the E.U.’s customs union, which would allow businesses to trade freely with the bloc. Many in Prime Minister Theresa May’s government oppose this because it would limit Britain’s ability to negotiate its own trade deals.

By 2 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) Monday, it was not yet known exactly which motions would be voted on in the evening.

Justice Secretary David Gauke, who voted to stay in the E.U. in the June 2016 referendum, has called on his fellow lawmakers to act even if they have not found a perfect deal.

“There are no ideal choices available and there are very good arguments against any possible outcome at the moment. But we are going to have to do something,” he said on the BBC on Sunday. “Sometimes you do have to accept your second or third choice to avoid an outcome you consider to be even worse.”

Secretary of State for Justice David GaukeJeff Overs / Reuters

The votes on Monday come after lawmakers three times said no thanks to withdrawal agreement proposed by May’s government. Two of these votes were the largest and fourth largest losses in parliamentary history. Despite these defeats, May is reportedly considering putting her deal up for yet another vote in Parliament this week.

As it is, Britain is due to leave the 28-member bloc on April 12, two weeks after originally planned. The deadlock in Parliament forced May to ask the E.U. for an extension to its membership — angering many Brexiteers.

But if lawmakers fail to find a way forward, Britain could crash out of Europe without an agreement — something many consider a nightmare scenario. Most experts say it could trigger shortages of food, medicine and basic supplies.


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