The UK's Brexit Conundrum: What happens now?
Updated 18:33, 16-Mar-2019
Nilay Syam

The UK plunged deeper into political chaos after parliament rejected Theresa May's Brexit proposals for the second time and a day later also voted against leaving the European Union without a deal.

A third round of voting witnessed MPs approving a motion calling for a delay to Brexit from March 29 to June 30, as long as May's deal is backed by March 20. They also backed a much longer extension to Brexit if MPs fail to back the prime minister's plan. 

The request for a longer delay would require unanimous approval from 27 EU member states, whose leaders will be meeting in Brussels on March 21. May will attend the EU Council summit where she will ask for Article 50, the two-year withdrawal process, to be extended.

Brexit flowchart. / CGTN Photo

Brexit flowchart. / CGTN Photo

May's spokesman said, "The prime minister absolutely wanted and strived for the UK to be leaving the EU on March 29. Everything she had done since she entered office was intended to deliver that. 

"She didn't want there to be an extension and brought forward the withdrawal agreement twice. Parliament chose to reject that deal and we now have to confront the difficult position that decisions taken by parliament have left us in."

The European Commission said it would be down to the bloc "to consider such a request, giving priority to the need to ensure the functioning of the EU institutions and taking into account the reasons for and duration of a possible extension."

All eyes are now on the prime minister as she lays the ground for a third meaningful vote which is expected to take place on March 18 or 19.

May's second-in-command, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, warned that unless MPs backed the prime minister's deal, the UK's exit from the EU could face a long delay.

‍(Cover image: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (center, front row) laughs during the debate on extending the Brexit negotiating period in Parliament, London, March 14, 2019. / VCG Photo)