Brexit at a standstill after May’s Commons defeat, says Barnier

Source: TheGuardian.com

Michel Barnier has said Brexit is at a standstill after the crushing rejection of Theresa May’s deal by MPs but offered to return to the negotiating table if parliament forces Theresa May to shift her “red lines”.

The motivations of the MPs who delivered the rebuff – a defeat by 230 votes, the largest ever for a sitting government – were described by the EU’s chief negotiator as “contradictory”.

Barnier said parliament had failed to offer an alternative vision on Tuesday evening, warning May that nothing could progress until she found a Commons majority for a deal.

His comments were echoed by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who said there was still time to negotiate, but “we believe it is up to the British side, as the prime minister has announced, to tell us what happens next.”

Barnier told the European parliament in Strasbourg that statements from MPs during the Commons debate had “mad us sad”. He added: “Objectively speaking, this vote is not a clear manifestation of a positive majority which would define an alternative project, and an alternative to the proposal on the table today,” Barnier said.

“So, in this context, it is up to the British authorities today or tomorrow to assess the outcome of this vote and up to the British government to find how we are to take things forward on 29 March towards an orderly withdrawal.”

(Read more at TheGuardian.com)

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