British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday suffered a major parliamentary defeat, the second time in 24 hours, as lawmakers voted in favour of an amendment that will force her to present an alternative plan for Brexit within three days if her controversial EU withdrawal deal does not pass in the House of Commons next week.
Today's blow to May came a day after MPs on Tuesday voted to scupper a no-deal Brexit. Over 20 MPs from across political parties on Wednesday tabled an amendment that would give the prime minister three days to set out a 'Plan B' if the House voted against her Brexit deal next Tuesday. While 308 lawmakers supported the amendment, 297 voted against it.
The amendment gives MPs the chance to formally put forward alternatives to her deal for the first time, including a people's vote and the Norway and EFTA "soft Brexit" options. If UK decides on a Norway-style Brexit it would join the EU and join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and, through the latter, become a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). A country can be a EEA member only if it is in the EU or EFTA.
This arrangement would give UK a full access to the single market, which means there would be no new non-tariff barriers, which would have the least impact on the British economy. Under the arrangement, though Britain would not be ruled over by the European Court of Justice, it would still have to be held accountable by the EFTA court, which means the UK would not be completely free of EU jurisdiction. The UK will officially leave the EU on March 29.