UNITED NATIONS – For the second time in a week, British lawmakers voted down four Brexit alternatives on Monday, further paralyzing the country 11 days before its planned exit from the European Union.
Monday’s votes were meant to find consensus for milder alternatives, including Britain joining an E.U. customs union after Brexit. Another called for Britain to mirror Norway by remaining a part of Europe’s common market while still remaining outside of the bloc. Those measures failed by a margin of three votes and 21 votes respectively.
A proposal for the British public to vote on any future Brexit deal and a proposal to seek a longer Brexit delay also failed.
Conservative MP Stephen Barclay said Monday’s indecision should persuade lawmakers to back a deal by Prime Minister Theresa May that has now been voted down three times.
But that optimism was far outweighed by frustration.
Ian Blackford of the Scottish National Party said Scotland still wants to remain in the E.U. and would soon make another independence push, while Conservative Nick Boles, who championed the “common market” Brexit proposal, said he’d tried and failed to find a compromise to avert Brexit chaos.
“I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret, therefore, to announce that I can no longer sit for this party.”
But Boles’ blame may have been better directed at 33 Labour Party members who want Brexit put to another referendum and who voted against the common market proposal –an outcome they’d ostensibly prefer to leaving the U.K. with no deal at all.
The Brexit process may now be in extra time, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from trying to wait out the clock in the hopes it plays to their advantage.