Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time in Parliament and the choices now are another extension, a no-deal exit on April 12, or a general election. May hopes to bring her Brexit deal back to parliament again next week after its rejection to get a deal done quickly enough to avoid a long extension that would require the U.K. to take part in European elections.
A string of leave-supporting Conservative backbenchers who had twice rejected the deal, including Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, switched sides to support agreement. But with Labour unwilling to shift its position, and the Democratic Unionist party’s 10 MPs implacably opposed, it was not enough to secure a majority for May.
Here is the Brexit timetable
April 1: Lawmakers to vote on alternatives to May’s Brexit deal. These could include staying in the customs union or even demanding a referendum on the deal.
Early April: May might try to put her deal, perhaps tweaked to reflect what Parliament decides on April 1, back to lawmakers for a vote. She’ll also have to speak to the EU about the prospect of a short extension that would allow the U.K. to avoid joining EU elections on May 23.
April 10: An EU summit. Usually the main issues are hashed out in the days leading up to the main event.
April 12: The new deadline. By now the U.K. has to decide if it’s holding European Parliament elections. At this point, the choice is no-deal, a long extension, or if it can negotiate it, another short extension.
April 18: EU Parliament dissolved — and can no longer ratify the Brexit deal before July 2.
May 23-26: European Parliament elections. If the U.K. doesn’t hold elections, and doesn’t have a deal in place, it will probably be chucked out of the bloc, or at the very least face legal action.
July 2: European Parliament’s first session of new term begins.