The UK Parliament defeated a measure to hold a second referendum on Wednesday, turning down a chance to hold a people’s vote on the future of Brexit. MPs voted against it, 85 to 334 — a huge loss that wasn’t all that surprising because even some referendum advocates argued that Thursday wasn’t the time to take up the issue.
Labour, the main opposition party, whipped its members to abstain from voting. Even strong backers of a second referendum, such as the main advocacy group, the People’s Vote campaign, were lukewarm about the vote on Thursday, saying MPs should simply focus on achieving a Brexit deadline extension.
The New York Times reports:
Lawmakers voted 412 to 202 on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, a move that means the country almost certainly will not leave the bloc on schedule on March 29.
The decision comes at the end of two years of tortuous negotiations over a plan for withdrawal that Prime Minister Theresa May has failed twice to push through Parliament, leaving the process in limbo with just 15 days to go.
During that period Mrs. May had insisted that she would take her country out of the European Union on March 29, with or without a deal. But facing a mutiny from her own lawmakers, Mrs. May finally agreed to offer Parliament the option of seeking a delay.
We have lost a people’s vote amendment by 334 votes to 85 votes. Labour abstained. An opportunity to drive forward the need for such a vote and Labour flunk it. They are the midwifes to @theresa_may Brexit. Absolutely spineless. #peoplesvote
— Ian Blackford (@IanBlackfordMP) March 14, 2019
BREAKING: UK Parliament votes to ask EU to delay Brexit by at least 3 months; Britain’s March 29 departure now unlikely. https://t.co/Fkc92815au
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 14, 2019
BREAKING: UK lawmakers voted to delay Brexit but rejected holding a second referendum. The EU previously said any delay would require a unanimous vote by all 27 member states. pic.twitter.com/CarauA9nIx
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 14, 2019
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 14, 2019
A public vote would be a “realistic option to break the deadlock”, says Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as UK MPs vote to seek a delay to #Brexit
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 14, 2019
The House of Commons has just voted to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit. This is an outrage.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) March 14, 2019