No-deal Brexit rejected in UK Parliament

By Bianca Britton and Eliza Mackintosh, CNN

Updated 1355 GMT (2155 HKT) March 14, 2019
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5:49 a.m. ET, March 13, 2019

The key Brexit questions you've wanted to ask, answered

Analysis by Luke McGee, CNN

If you're catching up this morning after the crushing 149-vote defeat of Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal deal, we've got you covered. Here are some key Brexit questions answered:

Is Brexit going away

Nice try! No. Brexit is happening on March 29 unless the UK applies for an extension to Article 50. That vote is probably going to take place on Thursday. The EU Council meets next week (March 21) that's likely to be May's nearest chance to apply for such an extension. 

Could the EU kick the UK out?

Short answer yes, but why would they? If the EU wanted a no-deal crash-out, they only need to wait another 17 days. 

Can the EU laugh and say no, when/if the UK asks for more time?

I doubt they would laugh – eurocrats are not famed for their sense of humor (apart from Donald Tusk) – but with a heavy heart, the leaders of the EU 27 members states could decline the UK's request for an extension to Article 50. It only takes one member state to veto the extension and many of them have good reason for doing so. The EU has been consistent that if the UK asks for an extension with sensible suggestions as to how they can get out of this trench, it would be carefully considered. But EU diplomats have also made clear for months that they see no point in delaying, only to end up back where we are now. 

Is Theresa May going to resign?

History says no, at least in the immediate future. May has an extraordinary ability to cling on to power. With an EU summit days away and Brexit far from sorted, May is, whatever you think of her, a dedicated public servant. It's hard to see how she would see it's in the best interests of the UK to suddenly create uncertainty around the leadership of the country, on top of everything else. 

What about another referendum?

Right now, the clearest path to a second Brexit vote is if the opposition Labour Party puts forward an amendment that a majority of the House of Commons backs. Labour recently adopted a formal policy of backing a second public vote on Brexit, should their alternative plan to May's be defeated in a Commons vote, which was the case last month. But people hoping to see Brexit canceled should keep the champagne corked for the time being. Labour hasn't tabled any such amendment to date, and there's a pretty good reason for that: they don't think it will pass. The risk of losing that vote is too great to play around with and would both undermine the authority of the opposition and exacerbate divisions within the party. Yes, it's not just May's Conservatives that have problems... 

The other reason Remainers should hold off the celebrations is this: it's unclear whether, even if a second public vote were to be held, Remain would be on the ballot. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, has been careful not to endorse the so-called "People's Vote" campaign and instead always words his second referendum plan as a second public vote.

What about another election?

Now you're talking. Some think that Labour only backed a second vote because of its ultimate desire to force an early general election – something the party believes it could win. Labour saw success in the 2017 snap election by having a Schrodinger's Brexit policy – appearing more europhile than the Conservatives while officially supporting leaving the EU. Formally backing a second referendum has a similar effect, especially if the government continually blocks the possibility of it happening. 

And if you think this sounds far-fetched, Labour aides were on Tuesday celebrating the fact that the Commons Speaker John Bercow didn't accept any amendments.

Is the threat that Brexit can be lost real?

The sight of May and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker sitting side-by-side on Monday night, claiming it was this deal or no Brexit, was nothing short of extraordinary. Both know that this isn't really true. The only way Brexit can be lost is if the UK revokes Article 50. It would need to pass an Act of Parliament to do so, which without a public vote instructing parliament to do so is a total non-starter. It could happen, but it would require first a Brexit delay, then a national vote with a huge majority. 

5:10 a.m. ET, March 13, 2019

Here's the timeline for today

Mid-morning: Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to chair a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning a day after a stunning 149-vote defeat of her reworked Brexit withdrawal deal.

10:00 a.m.: A European Parliament session of all members gets underway in Strasbourg focusing on preparations for next week's European Council meeting on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

12:00 p.m.: May faces questions from MPs in the House of Commons hours before the lawmakers are due to vote on whether to leave the EU without a deal.

12:30 p.m.: May's finance minister Philip Hammond will deliver the spring statement on the state of the UK's economy, against a backdrop of Brexit turmoil and mounting fears over the financial fallout of a no-deal exit from the EU.

1 p.m. or later: The House of Commons will begin debating the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

7 p.m.: MPs start to vote, first on amendments, if any are selected, then on whether to crash out of the EU without a deal.

4:48 a.m. ET, March 13, 2019

UK government publishes no-deal plans for trade tariffs and Irish border

From CNN's Rob North

The British government has published its plans for trade tariffs and the Irish border in the event of a no-deal Brexit withdrawal from the European Union.

The move comes one day after the crushing defeat of Theresa May's reworked Brexit deal, and hours before lawmakers reconvene in parliament to vote on whether the UK should crash out of the EU without a deal on March 29 -- the scheduled date for departure.

Under the temporary plans, which would last for 12 months, 87% of imports to the UK would be eligible for tariff free access in an effort to avert economic shock.

But tariffs will still apply to some goods, including agriculture, farming and some auto imports.

The government also revealed that tariffs will not be applied to goods crossing from the Republic of Ireland, part of the EU, into Northern Ireland, which remains part of the UK, triggering concerns around smuggling.

The plans did not shed any light on security on the border, but did say that no new checks or controls would be introduced.

Goods from the EU are currently tariff free, as the UK falls within the EU Customs Union. But, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, World Trade Organization tariffs would have been the default position. 

“Because these are unilateral measures, they only mitigate the impacts from exit that are within the UK government’s control. These measures do not set out the position in respect of tariffs or processes to be applied to goods moving from Northern Ireland to Ireland,” the government said in a statement.