Theresa May's Brexit deal defeated for third time
As Britain comes to the end of another punishing week of political chaos, we're winding down our live coverage from London.
We'll be back over the weekend and throughout next week. In the meantime, here's what comes next for Brexit.
According to a tweet by the Metropolitan police, five people have been arrested during today's Brexit protests, including two for assault, and one for assaulting a police officer.
Some of the pro-Brexit protesters outside Parliament this evening have harassed journalists covering the demonstration.
CNN crews were shoved and shouted at, while a film crew for Britain's Channel 4 broadcaster was also pushed away by dozens of demonstrators.
The protesters had just watched a speech by far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson.
The EU should give Britain an unlimited extension to Brexit, a German MEP has told CNN.
With the exception of pro-Brexit British parliamentarians such as Nigel Farage, "I haven’t met any member of the European Parliament that doesn’t regret Britain leaving," said Hans-Olaf Henkel.
"It is high time the European Parliament, as well as the Council, does something about it," he said. "They have to offer Britain an unlimited extension. Why should they limit the extension?"
European leaders will likely decide on further postponing Brexit at an emergency summit called for April 10.
Henkel added that Friday's defeat for Theresa May's Brexit deal raised the prospects of a second vote on leaving the EU. "They keep the door open for a second referendum—with hopefully a different result to the last one," he said.
If Britain gets a longer extension to its Brexit deadline, it would be required to participate in the European elections. In that case, said Henkel, re-allocating seats to Britain would be a straightforward process. "It is the right of the British to get their 73 seats."
France has warned Britain it could reject another request to delay Brexit unless Parliament can urgently find an alternative and credible way forward.
“The risk of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal has risen very sharply following Parliament's rejection of the withdrawal agreement for a third time," a spokeswoman for French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday.
"France is well prepared (for no deal) and will accelerate its preparations for such a scenario ... It is now up to Britain to urgently present an alternative plan in the coming days -- whether new elections, a second referendum, or a proposal for a customs union -- otherwise the country would leave the EU with no deal.”
Macron was a key opponent of Theresa May's request to delay Brexit at last week's summit in Brussels.
He will be expected to pursue a similarly hard line at the emergency summit on April 10.
“The idea of a long extension, involving UK participation in the European elections, can only be considered if the alternative plan is credible, supported by a majority in the British Parliament," the spokeswoman for Macron added.
"An extension is not automatic. France's priority will be to ensure the proper functioning of the European Union; we must look to the future and not sacrifice the European project.”
During today's drama inside and outside Parliament, the UK's Electoral Commission announced that Vote Leave -- the main group that campaigned for Brexit during the 2016 referendum -- has dropped an appeal against a ruling that it broke electoral law during the campaign.
The group will now pay the £61,000 ($79,000) fine it has been handed.
"We found that (Vote Leave) broke the electoral rules set out by Parliament to ensure fairness, confidence and legitimacy at an electoral event," the Commission said in a statement. "Serious offences such as these undermine public confidence in our system and it is vital, therefore, that they are properly investigated and sanctioned."
"Vote Leave has today withdrawn its appeal and related proceedings against the Electoral Commission's finding of multiple offences under electoral law, committed during the 2016 EU referendum campaign."
Labour MP Lisa Nandy says she was harassed, alongside others, by protesters outside Parliament today. "Our staff were advised to leave the building for their own safety," she said. "This is not normal."
The complaint comes as pro-Brexit protests continue outside the House of Commons, amid a heavy police presence..
SNP lawmaker Joanna Cherry earlier said she struggled to make her way to media interviews due to an "intimidatory atmosphere" outside Parliament. She did eventually arrive, and gave interviews to CNN and other outlets.
European leaders have reacted to news of Theresa May's third Brexit defeat with regret, concern and frustration.
EU Council President Donald Tusk confirmed he would be calling an emergency summit of European leaders just minutes after the results were announced.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, said British lawmakers need to find a way forward to avoid no deal. "We are ready to change the Political Declaration" to allow for a vote on a new path, he added.
Fellow EU negotiator Michel Barnier expressed regret from Poland, and also appealed for Britain to confirm a new way forward.
"I regret the further rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement. We continue to advocate an orderly #Brexit, even if it is now becoming less and less likely," Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz added.
European Commission Secretary General Martin Selmayr, meanwhile, reiterated that no-deal is still the default outcome on April 12.
Theresa May has been trying to win over the hardliners in her party for weeks. Many flipped – especially after her offer to resign if the deal went through – but it wasn't enough. Voting tallies show that 34 Conservative MPs opposed the deal on Friday.
That group included Brexiteers such as Steve Baker and Mark Francois -- who broke with colleagues including Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg by standing firm against the deal -- as well as pro-Remain lawmakers such as Dominic Grieve and Justine Greening.
Here's how each party voted:
Ayes - 286 in total: 277 Conservative MPs; five Labour MPs; four Independent MPs.
Noes - 344 in total: 34 Conservative MPs; 234 Labour MPs; 34 Scottish National Party MPs; 11 Liberal Democrat MPs; 10 DUP MPs; four Plaid Cymru MPs; one Green Party MP; 16 independent MPs, including the 11 lawmakers that make up the Independent Group.