British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered an embarrassing defeat by lawmakers Thursday in a vote that left her bid to secure a European Union divorce deal stuck between an intransigent EU and a resistant U.K. Parliament with Brexit just six weeks away.
A rebellion by hard-core Brexit backers saw the House of Commons vote by 303 votes to 258 against a motion reiterating support for May’s approach to Brexit support expressed by lawmakers in votes just two weeks ago.
The defeat is symbolic rather than binding, but shows how weak May’s hand is as she tries to secure changes to her divorce deal from the EU in order to win backing for it in Parliament. It is likely to leave EU leaders wondering whether May can win support for any kind of Brexit deal, given Britain’s political instability.
May tried to put a positive spin on the result. The prime minister’s office said in a statement that “while we didn’t secure the support of the Commons this evening,” the government believed Parliament still wanted May to seek changes to the Brexit deal that lawmakers could support.
“The government will continue to pursue this with the EU to ensure we leave on time on 29th March,” it said.
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