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U.K. Lawmakers Reject ‘No-Deal’ Brexit

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BRITISH LAWMAKERS Wednesday voted for a motion rejecting the prospect of a “no-deal” Brexit, setting up a Thursday vote on whether to seek a postponement on the country’s departure from the European Union, which is currently planned for the end of March.

The motion, which lawmakers backed 321 to 278, expressed their desire to rule out a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances. The measure went further than one backed by Prime Minister Theresa May that opposed a no-deal departure on March 29, the date the U.K. is set to leave the EU, but still emphasized that the default position was to leave without an agreement unless one was passed by Parlia

Lawmakers on Tuesday defeated May’s Brexit plan for the second time, further diminishing her authority. She has been negotiating with the EU for nearly two years on the plan.

The motion approved Wednesday does not carry the force of law and does not in practice eliminate the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, which economists and politicians warn will plunge the U.K. into chaos and upend trade, travel and the economy.

Even if lawmakers vote to push back the March 29 deadline, the EU would also still need to approve the postponement. EU members, who have been openly frustrated with Parliament’s lack of progress, have warned that they will not agree to an extension unless lawmakers give what they deem is proper justification.

“Should the UK hand in a reasoned request for an extension, I expect a credible and convincing justification,” Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, said on Twitter.

Even with a postponement, the U.K. will remain in a political quagmire that leaves uncertain when, how and even if the country will exit the bloc.

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