EU Says Final Decision Will Come From London Following Second Withdrawal Deal Rejection
The European Union appears to have given up on helping Great Britain settle the withdrawal deal. The news came after MPs rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's deal for a second time on Tuesday.
According to The Independent, European Commission officials made comments suggesting the EU will no longer intervene with London's decision-making regarding the Brexit deal. Chief negotiator Michel Barnier stressed that "the EU has done everything it can to help get the withdrawal agreement over the line," adding that "the impasse can only be solved in the UK."
Shortly after May's government rejected her Brexit deal by 391 to 242, EU Council President Donald Tusk told the media, "If there is a solution to the current impasse it can only be found in London."
Tusk pointed out that the EU already provided "additional assurances" to Great Britain over the past three months and at this point, the Commission doubts there is still more it can do to help London convince the opposition to finally approve the withdrawal agreement.
A spokesperson for Tusk reportedly said the Commission was disappointed with Tuesday's results. Tory MPs and opposition parties united to reject May's Brexit deal for the second time since January. It is also the third most historical defeat in the British government.
The spokesperson added that Tuesday's voting results largely increased the likelihood of a no deal Brexit scenario since there are only less than 20 days left before the U.K. departs from the EU on March 29. He said the Commission will continue to prepare for circumstances that could arise from Britain leaving without a deal.
Ahead of the voting session, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated that Britain will no longer get another chance to negotiate the deal if it gets rejected again.
BBC News reported that the Labour party commented on May's sentiments following her defeat, stating that the PM's decision of allowing Tory MPs to get a free vote on a no deal Brexit indicates she has "given up any pretense of leading the country."
May was able to secure the support of around 40 Tory MPs ahead of the vote but she failed to get the majority on her side. The rejection also came after May obtained legal assurances from the EU regarding the highly-contested Irish backstop.
The U.K. will now deliberate on a potential no deal Brexit. Should MPs vote against Britain leaving without an agreement with the EU, they will vote on potentially extending Article 50.