Brexit: UK MPs push to prevent no-deal in law

French president Emmanuel Macron

Making a statement in Downing Street after a seven-hour cabinet meeting, the politically hobbled May by seeking Labour's support appeared to have lost hope of winning over rebels within the her party as well as the Democratic Unionist Party that is propping up her minority government. "What she's done by announcing this is to seize back control of the process", he said.

The government is pushing for a fourth vote on May's deal, with Education Secretary Damian Hinds saying the agreement already represents a compromise in the Brexit debate.

Her statement follows weeks of turmoil, in which MPs rejected her divorce deal three times, but were unable to come up with their own plan.

On Monday night parliament voted down four options proposed by lawmakers for how to move forward, ranging from the idea of retaining key elements of European Union membership, to holding a new referendum.

The alternative plan that got the most support in Parliament on Monday was a proposal for a customs union, which failed by just three votes.

Many of those options have returned for round two, but some have been replaced with new alternatives.

"We will meet the prime minister".

But Mr Cash's objections were rejected by Speaker John Bercow.

But its proposals to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland by keeping Britain temporarily in a customs union with the EU are strongly opposed by many MPs. But it would prevent Britain striking independent trade deals with other countries, and has previously been ruled out by May. A motion that went further, calling for Britain to stay in the EU's borderless single market for both goods and services, was defeated 282-261.

But European leaders would probably hesitate to force Britain out against its will if British politicians appeared to be searching for ways to have a closer relationship with the bloc, so long as the rubicon of late June is not crossed.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons have voted three times to reject an agreement May struck with the EU. It lost by 292 votes to 280.

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Most politicians, economists and business groups think leaving the world's largest trading bloc without an agreement would be damaging for the European Union and disastrous for the U.K. It would lead to tariffs imposed on trade between Britain and the European Union, customs checks that could cause gridlock at ports and which could spark shortages of essential goods.

Monday's result left May's Conservative government facing hard and risky choices.

In a momentous statement at Downing Street, ten days before the UK is due to leave the European Union with or without an agreement, May said she would implement any deal that was agreed by a majority in the UK Parliament.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper presented the bill - which supporters hoped they could pass through the Commons in one day. "Is it for organising a new referendum, is it for organising new elections, is it because the House of Commons needs time?" "It has once again failed to find a clear majority for any of the options", he said.

Fifteen of the Cabinet want to crash out without a deal, 10 back a softer Brexit and those on the losing side this evening could quit in disgust.

It was not a message numerous MPs wanted to hear. May pledged to respect the will of parliament should such a vote occur. But still a wide gap to bridge.

The alternative to a "no-deal" departure is to delay Brexit for at least several months, and possibly more than a year, to sort out the mess.

The focus now switches to Downing Street and Tuesday when the British cabinet meets.

So why not clear the air with a general election? That so-called nuclear option may now be put on hold following the results Monday.

EU leaders have agreed to extend the original March 29 Brexit deadline until April 12 to avoid a chaotic "no-deal" ending to the 46-year EU-UK partnership.

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