The British parliament has rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for Britain to leave the European Union.
The House of Commons voted 432 to 202 against the plan negotiated by members of May’s government. The prime minister said she is trying to carry out the "democratic decision" voters made 18 months ago to leave the EU.
Opposition Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbin called the vote a "catastrophic defeat" for May's Conservative Party. He also demanded a parliamentary vote be held Wednesday on whether to withdraw support from her government. He criticized the British government as incompetent.
The vote against May’s plan was widely expected, but it is not clear what comes next for the withdrawal, known as Brexit. Before the vote, May warned members of parliament that the EU would not offer an "alternative deal."
One of the main terms of her plan was to avoid a hard border between EU member Ireland and British Northern Ireland. She wanted to prevent the return of border measures if Britain and the EU failed to reach a free trade agreement.
May's deal would have left unchanged the rights of more than three million EU citizens living in Britain and the one million Britons living in the EU. Britain would have paid $51 billion to settle its financial responsibilities with the EU.
May’s plan faced opposition from both sides of the debate over Brexit. Those supporting the break argued that her deal would still leave Britain tied to EU rules. Opponents to Brexit wanted even stronger economic links to the EU.
Groups of pro-EU and pro-Brexit activists demonstrated near parliament in London, Tuesday.
Negotiators from Britain and the EU agreed to the terms of the Brexit deal in November after long and difficult talks. It is unclear what will happen next.
May has until next Monday to present a new proposal.
I'm Caty Weaver.
VOANews reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
catastrophic –adj. something that is a disaster
incompetent –adj. lacking necessary ability or skills
alternative –n. something that offers another choice
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit 51VOA.COM.