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The Latest: UK lawmakers again reject Brexit deal

March 30, 2019
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Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage arrives on stage to speak at a rally in Parliament Square after the final leg of the "March to Leave" in London, Friday, March 29, 2019. The protest march which started on March 16 in Sunderland, north east England, finishes on Friday March 29 in Parliament Square, London, on what was the original date for Brexit to happen before the recent extension. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):

6:25 p.m.

Two senior German officials see little chance of reviving Britain’s treaty with the European Union to withdraw from the bloc, after it was again rejected by the UK parliament.

Manfred Weber, a European lawmaker and center-right candidate to head the European Commission, said Friday that “the treaty is off the table.”

Justice Minister Katarina Barley, the center-left Social Democrats’ top candidate for upcoming European elections, said “everything points to a hard Brexit” without a deal.

Speaking to German public broadcaster ZDF, both spoke out in favor of a fresh elections in Britain or a second Brexit referendum.

Weber said British lawmakers’ repeated rejection of the deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May highlighted “a failure of the political class in Great Britain, there’s no other way to describe it.”

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3:40 p.m.

The head of an influential association of German industries says it’s time to start preparing for the worst after the British parliament again rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Eric Schweitzer, head of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, warned Friday “the chaos is absolute.”

He says companies are “shaking their heads” at the decision and that “Britain and Europe are stumbling toward an unregulated withdrawal from the EU.”

Schweitzer says that means “there’s a threat in just a few days of a substantial Brexit bureaucracy and the demolition of supply chains involving the United Kingdom,” meaning German companies could soon be plagued with customs issues and “many billions of euros each year in tariffs.”

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3:25 p.m.

Denmark’s prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen says that European Union countries “will intensify our no deal preparations” after British lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal for a third time.

Lars Loekke Rasmussen said on Twitter Friday that the U.K. Parliament vote outcome was “very discouraging,” adding “UK must now show a way to avoid a #NoDeal. Almost out of options and time.”

Denmark joined the then European Community — now the European Union — at the same time as Britain in 1973.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted the result was “very unfortunate!” adding “Dear Britain, please tell us what you really want!”

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3:10 p.m.

The pound has fallen after British lawmakers once again defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the European Union.

Having traded modestly higher ahead of the vote, the pound was 0.5 percent lower at $1.2995 soon after the lawmakers voted by a margin of 58 votes against May’s withdrawal agreement.

The defeat means that the United Kingdom now facies the prospect of crashing out of the EU on April 12 without a deal that could lead to severe disruptions to trade.

Lawmakers will have another chance on Monday to come up with their own proposals of how, or if, Britain leaves the EU. There’s also the prospect that Britain will agree on a long Brexit extension with the EU.

David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB, said Britain is “in danger of sleepwalking into an unintended ‘no-deal’ scenario,” and that “poses a major risk for the pound.”

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3:05 p.m.

The European Union has called a special summit for April 10 to assess the third rejection in the UK parliament of the Brexit withdrawal agreement and says a chaotic exit for Britain from the bloc “is now a likely scenario.”

The EU had been hoping for a positive outcome of Friday’s Brexit vote in the House of Commons, which would have paved the way for Britain to leave on May 22.

Instead, all options are now on the table, including delaying Brexit for a long time.

The EU expects British Prime Minister Theresa May to be part of that April 10 summit.

An EU Commission official says the 27 remaining EU nations are now “fully prepared for a no-deal scenario at midnight 12th of April,” by which time the UK must chart a course ahead.

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3 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says the implications of the lawmaker’s rejection of her European Union divorce deal are “grave.”

Speaking Friday after Parliament voted down her deal, May told lawmakers that it should be a “matter of profound regret” that “once again we have been unable to support leaving the European Union in an orderly fashion.”

She says “the implications of the House’s decision are grave.”

The decision leaves Britain’s departure up in the air. The legal default would be to leave the bloc without a divorce deal on April 12, although Parliament would not allow that.

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2:45 p.m.

British lawmakers have rejected the government’s divorce deal with the European Union for a third time, leaving the date and terms of the U.K.’s departure from the bloc uncertain.

The House of Commons voted 286-344 against the withdrawal agreement struck between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU.

It follows defeats by even wider margins in January and March, and leaves the government’s blueprint for exiting the bloc in tatters.

Britain now has until April 12 to tell the EU what it plans to do next. It must either cancel Brexit, seek a longer delay or crash out of the bloc without a deal.

U.K. lawmakers plan to hold a series of votes Monday in an attempt to find a new plan.

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2:35 p.m.

Members of the U.K. Parliament are walking through one of two lobbies off of the House of Commons chamber for the latest vote on Brexit.

One side is for “yes” votes and the other is for “no” votes.

Their names are recorded as they pass through, and the vote total for each side is announced to Speaker John Bercow in the House of Commons.

Earlier, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said voting on her EU divorce deal is “the last opportunity to guarantee Brexit” as she sought to rally support for the measure.

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2:20 p.m.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May says voting on her EU divorce deal is “the last opportunity to guarantee Brexit” as she sought to rally support for the measure.

The House of Commons will be voting later Friday on May’s twice-rejected European Union divorce deal amid continuing opposition from hard-line Brexit supporters and Northern Ireland lawmakers.

If the deal is rejected, Britain will crash out of the bloc in two weeks unless the EU agrees to extend the Brexit deadline.

May appealed to the House of Commons to accept her deal, saying any extension would “at least delay and could destroy Brexit.” 

The agreement still faced substantial opposition even after May sacrificed her job for her deal, promising to quit if lawmakers approved the Brexit deal and let Britain leave the EU on May 22.

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2:05 p.m.

Spain has taken charge of the European Union’s anti-piracy operations off Somalia, which had been led by a United Kingdom set to leave the European bloc.

Spanish vice admiral Antonio Martorell relieved British major general Charlie Strickland as commander of the operation in a handing-over ceremony of the EU flag on Friday.

The headquarters of the EUNAVFOR Atalanta operation that was based at Northwood, just outside London, will now be at Spain’s southern port of Rota, where U.S. troops are also stationed.

The anti-piracy operation’s headquarters is just one European institution that Britain is losing as a cost of its scheduled divorce from the rest of the EU.

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2 p.m.

Thousands of demonstrators are converging on Parliament Square as lawmakers prepared to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce plan from the European Union.

Demonstrators demanding that Britain leave the European Union held flags, placards and banners. Singing “Bye-Bye EU” the demonstrators demanded that lawmakers implement the results of a June 2016 referendum to leave the European Union.

Some protesters brought traffic to a halt outside the Palace of Westminster, where lawmakers were debating whether to accept the 585-page Withdrawal Agreement.

A far larger march took place last week, in which hundreds of thousands of anti-Brexit protesters demanded a new referendum.

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1:40 p.m.

The chief European Union’s Brexit negotiator says that a chaotic no-deal departure of Britain from the bloc “has become more likely.”

Michel Barnier said that such a no-deal “was never our scenario but the EU 27 is now prepared.” He was speaking in Poland’s capital a short time before the U.K. House of Commons was due to vote a third time on the twice-rejected legal withdrawal agreement.

Referring to the lawmakers in the British House of Commons, Barnier said that “what we now need is a positive choice to move forward” and that it was the “personal responsibility” of each member to “choose what they want.”

He said the deal negotiated between Britain’s government and the EU is a “carefully balanced compromise” that took two years to negotiate and “is not open to re-negotiation.”

He spoke in favor of a broad future cooperation in many areas including trade, foreign policy and security.

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12:10 p.m.

The European Union says that a “yes” vote on Britain’s EU withdrawal agreement from U.K. lawmakers will be enough to assure an orderly exit of Britain from the bloc.

Parliament is voting Friday on the 585-page withdrawal agreement that sets out the terms of Britain’s departure — including its financial settlement with the EU and the rights of EU and U.K. citizens — but not a political declaration on future ties that is also part of the overall divorce deal agreed between the U.K. and the EU late last year.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Friday that “the withdrawal agreement negotiated between both parties is indeed both necessary and sufficient to ensure the orderly withdrawal of the UK.”

Not including the political declaration altered the parliamentary vote enough to overcome a ban against asking lawmakers the same question over and over again.

May also hoped severing the link between the two parts of the deal would blunt opposition — though there was little sign of that.

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11:50 a.m.

Poland’s prime minister says the European Union is open to further extending Britain’s departure from the bloc if British lawmakers reject the withdrawal deal for the third time.

Premier Mateusz Morawiecki was speaking to reporters Friday after talks with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Morawiecki said that in case Friday’s vote in the House of Commons fails, the EU is “open to extending the departure process” on a motion from London, by “six or nine or 12 months, these options are available.”

He said the EU would best like Britain to stay, or at least leave in an orderly way.

Barnier is expected to deliver a speech on “Europe after Brexit” at Warsaw’s College of Europe later Friday.

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9 a.m.

On the day that Britain was originally scheduled to leave the European Union, lawmakers are facing what Theresa May’s government describes as the “last chance to vote for Brexit.”

Friday’s parliamentary vote is on only part of the deal that Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU, in a bid by May to blunt the opposition that has already forced her to ask for an extension.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC that people will wonder why Parliament hasn’t lived up to its commitment to abide by voters’ decision to leave the EU.

Fox says: “It is, in fact, really, the last chance we have to vote for Brexit as we understood it today. ... I think all MPs will have to reflect today who are the masters and who are the servants in our democratic process.”

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