“If you compared Britain to a sphinx, the sphinx would be an open book by comparison,” Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, told the European Parliament on Wednesday at a meeting in Strasbourg, France. “Let’s see how that book speaks over the next week or so.”
In another rebuff for Mrs. May, lawmakers saw off an effort by the government on Wednesday afternoon to stop the votes, defeating the measure by 331 votes to 287. The speaker of the house, John Bercow, selected eight Brexit plans to be voted on, including several that would keep Britain closely tied to the European Union, in a so-called soft Brexit. Others would see Britain leaving without any deal, require an exit agreement be confirmed in a referendum or cancel Brexit completely.
Mr. Bercow also repeated an earlier ruling that if Mrs. May tried to bring back her plan for a vote soon, she would have to satisfy him that it was different from the version that has failed. In his statement, Mr. Bercow warned that he would not allow procedural devices to circumvent his decision.
Lawmakers have already twice rejected the Brexit agreement that Mrs. May painstakingly negotiated with the European Union, each time by large margins. Last week, European Union leaders agreed to Britain’s request to delay its departure, which had been set to take effect on Friday, to avoid a chaotic exit without a deal in place.
But time is short, and Europe has grown frustrated with the deadlock. Under the terms of the postponement, if Parliament does not accept Mrs. May’s deal, the new deadline will be April 12.
Theresa May Promises to Step Down if U.K. Parliament Backs Brexit Plan – The New York Times