Brexit vote: EU President Says UK Remaining is only option ‘if a Deal is Impossible, and No one wants No Deal’

The president of the European Council has dared British politicians to back remaining in the EU after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was voted down by the House of Commons by a historic margin of failure.

After MPs rejected the plan by 432 to 202 Donald Tusk said: “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”

His European Commission counterpart Jean-Claude Juncker also warned that “time is almost up” in Brexit talks, telling Theresa May: “I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, said it was “the time to find out what UK parliamentarians want”. The EU’s legislature will debate the result early Wednesday morning.

The prime minister lost the vote by a larger than expected margin on Tuesday night after her MPs deserted her and plunged her into the worst Commons defeat for a government for practically a century.

Michael Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator told reporters in Strasbourg: “Now it is time for the UK to tell us the next steps. On our side we will remain united and determined to reach an agreement.”

He did not answer when asked whether he had faith in Theresa May. Mr Barnier met with MEPs from the European parliament’s Brexit steering group immediately following the vote.

In a statement Mr Juncker said the European Commission had “invested enormous time and effort to negotiate the withdrawal agreement”, adding that the EU had shown “creativity and flexibility throughout” the process.

“The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom has increased with this evening’s vote,” he said.

“While we do not want this to happen, the European Commission will continue its contingency work to help ensure the EU is fully prepared.”

In a separate statement, a spokesperson for council president Mr Tusk said: “We regret the outcome of the vote, and urge the UK government to clarify its intentions with respect to its next steps as soon as possible.”

Other EU leaders weighed in with their views following the defeat – with most warning that the UK would have to spell out what it wanted from Brexit.

Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian chancellor, said: “I regret the outcome Brexit of the vote. After the vote, the ball is now with the House of Commons in London. In any case, there will be no renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement.”

Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, said: “I regret, yet respect the result of the vote in House of Commons on current Brexit deal. The Netherlands and EU are still behind the agreement, but will keep preparing for all scenarios. Despite this setback, it does not mean we are in a no-deal situation. The next step is up to the UK.”

Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg added: “I deeply regret the outcome of the vote as I regret Brexit as such. Now we need a fast and clear plan on how to proceed. Because that’s what we need to do: finding solutions, not problems.”

He added: “Our internal preparations to limit the damage in case of a no deal shall go ahead in full steam.”

Ahead of the vote on Tuesday afternoon German foreign minister Heiko Maas said that though he doubted the withdrawal agreement could be “fundamentally reopened” he believed that “if it goes wrong tonight, there could be further talks”. Such talks could be focused on the so-called “political declaration” which spells out the future relationship between the UK and EU.

Berlin has struck a noticably more concilatory tone than other EU member states in the last 24 hours. German European affairs minister Michael Roth said following the vote: “A disaster. Too bad. But EU’s door remains open.”

After the result, French president Emmanuel Macron laid out the options for the UK as he saw them.

“First option, they go towards a no deal. They say: ‘there is no deal’. That’s scary for everybody. The first losers in this would be the British,” he told a meeting of French mayors in Normandy.

“Second option, they tell us – in my view, that’s what they’ll do, I know them a bit – ‘we’ll try to improve what we can get from the Europeans and we’ll get back for a vote’.

“In that case, we’ll look into it, maybe we’ll make improvements on one or two things, but I don’t really think so because we’ve reached the maximum of what we could do with the deal and we won’t, just to solve Britain’s domestic political issues, stop defending European interests.”

Read More : Brexit vote: European ‘surprise’ at scale of defeat

He continued: “There’s a third option, which is to say – and in my view they’ll start with the second option and then we’ll eventually end up with the third – ‘actually, we’re going to take more time to renegotiate something’. It creates a great deal of uncertainty and worries.”

A spokesperson for the Irish government, which has been at the forefront of talks because of the Irish border issue, said it “regrets the outcome of the vote in Westminster” and that it would “add to uncertainty about the nature of the UK withdrawal from the EU”.

Read More : Theresa May’s Brexit vote defeat adds to the country’s sense of crisis that grows by the day

The spokesperson recalled the EU position that the “withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation” and said the Irish government would “intensify preparations for such an outcome”.

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Neal Bhai has been involved in the Bullion and Metals markets since 1998 – he has experience in many areas of the market from researching to trading and has worked in Delhi, India. Mobile No. - 9899900589 and 9582247600

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