A hard no-deal Brexit or a delay on Britain leaving the European Union? The British parliament's thumping defeat of Theresa May's Brexit deal increases the likelihood of both options.

The House of Commons shot down the prime minister's long-suffering divorce deal with the other 27 EU nations on Tuesday by 391 votes to 242.

But this is far from the end of the Brexit saga despite Britain's March 29 exit deadline fast approaching.

Parliament is now expected to hold two more votes this week that will ultimately shape the future of Britain's 46-year membership of the EU.

No deal
Britain simply walking out without any new arrangements in place -- the so-called "no-deal Brexit" -- would automatically kick in should no deal be agreed.

May has been forced to give parliament a chance to vote against this potentially catastrophic scenario on Wednesday.

The looming prospect of trade routes clogging up and the UK pound crashing might simply be too much for a growing faction of May's team to bear.

The parliamentary vote will only be advisory and do nothing to actually eliminate the danger of a cliff-edge ending to the saga.

But it would let EU officials know that the one thing London can agree on is that it wants an orderly divorce.

Brexit delay
The no-deal's rejection would be followed with a vote on Thursday that could see parliament tell May to ask EU leaders to approve a delay of Britain's departure date.

May has spoken of a possible delay until the end of June but the Financial Times said some lawmakers are thinking much longer -- nine to 21 months.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted on Monday that Britain's exit should be completed by May 23-26 European parliamentary vote. EU leaders have the final say on any delay.

Second referendum
What such a delay might be used for is one of Brexit's great unknowns.

There are few reasons to think the different sides will suddenly stumble on a solution that has evaded them during two previous years of talks.

But two forces are expected to spring into action: groups backing a much closer EU-UK union -- and ones that simply want to call the whole thing off.

A second referendum would also take a long time to organise and require parliamentary support.

May's adamant refusal to back one means there would probably need to be a change in government and possibly early elections.

And few dare to predict what surprise British voters might spring next.

May's deal
The idea of May's deal with Brussels making a comeback after Tuesday's fiasco might seem far-fetched.

But several factors continue to play in May's favour and reports of her strategy's demise might still be premature.

One is that Brexit backers are gradually realising that May might be offering their best -- and quite possibly last -- chance to split from the bloc.

And EU officials would like to see Britain's status settled by the time voters across the continent elect a new European Parliament at the end of May.

The two factors might convince May to propose yet another -- and this time truly final -- vote on her 585-page pact with Brussels in the very near future.



Protesters united against Brexit deal, divided over the future


Hundreds of demonstrators from rival camps celebrated outside Britain's parliament on Tuesday, united against the deal that was overwhelmingly voted down by MPs, but divided over what it means.

Parliament's vote against the deal raises the possibility both of Brexit being indefinitely delayed — agreement — favoured by Leave voters.

In the more numerous camp, Europhiles wearing starry berets proudly waved European Union flags and signs reading "Stop Brexit" under Westminster's windows, chanting "Brexit is dead!" as the results were announced.

"It's marvellous, it's one step closer to staying in the EU," said Nina Hawl, 82, from London.
Chris Hammond, 53, hoped that a second referendum was now on the table.
"I won't stop fighting, if there is a campaign for second referendum, I will be working everyday," he said.

Emma Knaggs, 37, gave up her "well-paid" job in telecoms to become a full-time anti-Brexit volunteer, and was outside parliament hoping to defend her "freedom of movement" rights.

"My whole family benefited from EU citizenship: my parents lived for 28 years in Belgium and I was born there," she said.

"I wanted to do something else with my life and realised Brexit was the thing I cared the most about," she said.

Pensioner Magdalena Williams said she was "happy because Theresa May has lost", and that the possibility of an extension of the departure date meant "we have time for a better campaign for another referendum".

'We must leave the EU'
Security was a major concern for anti-Brexit protester Peter Benson, 55, who was born near Dublin but has lived in the United Kingdom for 35 years.

"I think terrorism could return to the UK if there's a Brexit," he said, referring to explosive packages found in London and Glasgow last week and claimed by a group calling itself the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

In the middle of the pro-EU crowd, pro-Brexit supporters said they were concerned May's deal would have maintained too close relations with the EU.
"We voted to leave the EU so we must leave the EU, we're a democracy," said Suzanne Nicholson, who vowed to keep making the 185 mile (300 kilometre) trip from Yorkshire to Westminster to demonstrate "until we're out".

Harriett, a retired Londoner, hoped that Brexit would solve overcrowding in London.
"I hope leaving the EU will change London, London is very overpopulated, we want to get many people to leave," she said.

"I don't usually demonstrate, I have to do my bit... because I'm a leaver."
Mike Ransom, 52, said he was glad the deal was rejected, but that he was "confused".

"Where do we go now? I don't know. If we don't get Brexit there is going to be unrest in the streets."



EU says no more Brexit talks with UK, risk of no-deal increased


The European Union will not negotiate Brexit again, it said on Tuesday, after Britain's parliament rejected the divorce package for a second time in a vote that made a chaotic no-deal scenario more likely.

"The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line," Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said after the House of Commons vote.

"The impasse can only be solved in the UK. Our 'no-deal' preparations are now more important than ever before."

In coordinated statements, European Council President Donald Tusk and the bloc's executive European Commission said the EU had done "all that is possible to reach an agreement ... it is difficult to see what more we can do."

The bloc insists the divorce deal - already rejected by parliament in January - will not be revisited.

It expects Prime Minister Theresa May to ask for a delay to Brexit to avoid economic disruption should Britain leave with no plan in place.

"With only 17 days left to March 29, today's vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a 'no-deal' Brexit," the EU said.

"Should there be a UK reasoned request for an extension, the EU27 will consider it and decide by unanimity. The EU27 will expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration," it said, adding that any Brexit delay must not interfere with EU parliamentary elections due on May 24-26.

EU envoys from the remaining 27 member states were due to meet at 0800 GMT on Wednesday to discuss next steps.

While a short Brexit delay is acceptable to the EU, few in the bloc believe it would be enough to break the deadlock in Britain's government, parliament and the wider country, all split in half on Brexit.

Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday Britain must leave on May 23 at the latest or would have to take part in the EU elections.

Typical of the exasperation felt in Brussels, one EU diplomat said: "What credibility does she (May) have left? Why would EU leaders engage with her again after yet another failure? This really needs to end."

But there were some more sanguine voices too, with Ireland's foreign minister calling for patience and another national EU diplomat saying: "There is still more drama to be had - and then we'll see."

An EU lawmaker dealing with Brexit, Philippe Lamberts, said the UK needed a second referendum or make a U-turn and seek to remain in the EU's customs union after Brexit to break the deadlock.

"The EU has gone to every length to try and accommodate the UK government's red lines," he said.

"We cannot continue to witness Theresa May's traveling circus of CO2 and hot air to Brussels, London, Dublin and Strasbourg, so long as Westminster is unable to agree with itself."


Britain in Brexit chaos: parliament crushes May's EU deal again


British lawmakers crushed Prime Minister Theresa May's European Union divorce deal on Tuesday, thrusting Britain deeper into crisis and forcing parliament to decide within days whether to back a no-deal Brexit or seek a last-minute delay.

Lawmakers voted against May's amended Brexit deal by 391 to 242 as her last-minute talks with EU chiefs on Monday to assuage her critics' concerns ultimately proved fruitless.

The vote puts the world's fifth largest economy in uncharted territory with no obvious way forward; exiting the EU without a deal, delaying the March 29 divorce date, a snap election or even another referendum are all now possible.

May might even try a third time to get parliamentary support in the hope that hardline eurosceptic lawmakers in her Conservative Party, the most vocal critics of her withdrawal treaty, might change their minds if it becomes more likely that Britain might stay in the EU after all.

While she lost, the margin of defeat was smaller than the record 230-vote loss her deal suffered in January.

Lawmakers will now vote at 1900 GMT on Wednesday on whether Britain should quit the world's biggest trading bloc without a deal, a scenario that business leaders warn would bring chaos to markets and supply chains, and other critics say could cause shortages of food and medicines.

May said the government would not instruct her own party's lawmakers how to vote, as would normally be the case.
An opposition Labour Party spokesman said this meant she had "given up any pretence of leading the country". May's political spokesman said she had not discussed resigning.

The prime minister, hoarse after Monday's late-night talks, told lawmakers: "Let me be clear. Voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face."

Impasse
She said parliament was now at an impasse: "Does it wish to revoke Article 50 (announcing intention to leave the EU)? Does it want to hold a second referendum? Or does it want to leave with a deal, but not this deal?"

Graham Brady, an influential Conservative lawmaker, said the two most likely scenarios were leaving the EU without a deal "or some kind of endless delay".

Andrea Leadsom, who manages government business in parliament, insisted however that "it is still our intention, if at all possible, to leave the EU on March 29 with a good deal".

The European Union said the risk of a damaging no-deal Brexit has "increased significantly" but there would be no more negotiations with London on the divorce terms.

Sterling, which had earlier in the day fallen by 2 percent to $1.3005, was trading at around $1.3086 shortly after the vote. [GBP/]

"One door has closed but other possibilities have opened up and markets are hopeful that Wednesday's vote on a no-deal Brexit will suffer a big defeat," said Timothy Graf, head of macro strategy at State Street Global Advisors in London.

Opposition to May's deal among members of the Conservative Party derives from a belief that it does not offer the clean break from the European Union that many voted for.

Supporters of Brexit argue that, while a "no-deal" divorce might bring some short-term instability, in the longer term it would allow the United Kingdom to thrive and forge beneficial trade deals across the world.

However, parliament is expected firmly to reject a "no-deal" Brexit as well, so lawmakers would then vote again on Thursday - on whether government should request a delay to the leaving date to allow further talks.

Both May and the EU have already ruled out any other changes to the deal, struck after two-and-a-half years of tortuous negotiations.

"No third chance"
"There will be no third chance," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday. "There will be no further interpretations of the interpretations, no further assurances of the reassurances if the 'meaningful vote' tomorrow fails."

The government had been expected to offer parliament the chance to press for a short extension, but announced on Tuesday night that it would be for parliament to decide on the length of the delay that the government would request.
This raised the possibility that it might ask to push the exit date past late May, when Britain would have to participate in European Parliament elections - a prospect that both sides have been keen to avoid.

A spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk, representing EU governments, said Britain would have to provide a "credible justification" for any request to delay Brexit.

Britons voted by 52-48 percent in 2016 to leave the EU but the decision has not only divided the main parties but also exposed deep rifts in British society, bringing concerns about immigration and globalization to the fore.

Many fear that Brexit will divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional U.S. presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China, leaving Britain economically weaker and with its security capabilities depleted.

Supporters say it allows Britain to control immigration and take advantage of global opportunities, striking new trade deals with the United States and others while still keeping close links to the EU, which, even without Britain, would be a single market of 440 million people.



Brexit defeat leaves May's authority in tatters


British Prime Minister Theresa May staked everything on getting her Brexit deal, and its rejection on Tuesday has left her authority severely damaged.

The Conservative leader had already sparked anger and frustration at home and in Brussels for taking the Brexit talks down to the wire.

These have now been shown to have failed, with dozens of her own MPs voting for a second time to reject her EU withdrawal agreement.

"The PM has lost all control. If she had an ounce of decency she'd resign," said opposition Labour lawmaker Lou Haigh.

After her defeat, May continued to insist that her deal was the best option, but said she would -- as promised -- allow MPs now to vote on whether to leave the EU with no deal.

But faced with the prospect of another rebellion, she said Conservative MPs can vote as they choose -- a move that commentators said showed how little authority she had over her party.
"For a government not to be able to whip its MPs on one of its absolutely central policies is not exactly... normal," noted Alice Lilly, senior researcher at the Institute for Government.

'Total failure of leadership'
May has made much of her reputation for toughness, gleefully adopting a colleague's description of her as a "bloody difficult woman".

But her efforts to seek changes to her own divorce deal just weeks before exit day on March 29, and despite EU warnings that her demands were impossible, has tested MPs' patience.

Pro-European ministers staged a revolt, demanding May offer a vote on delaying Brexit rather than allow Britain to leave with no deal at all.
Meanwhile many eurosceptics are livid at her failure to deliver the decisive divorce she had promised.

"This is a total failure of leadership," said leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage after Tuesday's vote.

'Little imagination'
May took office after the 2016 referendum, and despite having campaigned to stay in the EU, embraced the cause with the mantra "Brexit means Brexit".

Her promise to leave the EU's institutions and end free movement of workers delighted eurosceptic MPs, but caused dismay among many pro-Europeans.

The splits in her Conservative party became a serious problem after a snap election in June 2017, when May lost her parliamentary majority.

She was forced to strike a deal with Northern Ireland's pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and since then has struggled to keep her party and its allies together.

"At first she appeared to be a unifier, but she turned out to have too little courage, imagination or skill to lead the Brexit negotiations," said the Conservative-backing Spectator magazine.

Naturally reserved and reliant on her husband Philip and a few close aides, May often says she is just quietly "getting on with the job".

But in the last election, she struggled to engage with voters and was dubbed the "Maybot" after churning out the same answers and speeches over and over again.

Critics complain of similar difficulties in communicating during the Brexit talks.
Matthew Parris, an anti-Brexit former Conservative MP who now writes for The Times, described her as "the living embodiment of the closed door".

'Navigate a difficult course'
But May has been written off before.
She survived the resignations of a string of high-profile Brexit supporters, notably former foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

May also won a confidence vote in her Conservative party over Brexit in December, making her immune from a similar challenge within a year.

She was forced to promise to quit before the next scheduled election in 2022, however, and even then, one third of her MPs voted to unseat her.

May's office indicated she had no intention of resigning after Tuesday's vote.
James Cleverly, deputy chairman of her Conservative party, said she was driven by her commitment to delivering Brexit.

"The prime minister is having to navigate a very, very difficult course through the unique set of circumstances we are being presented with," he told the BBC.



Brexit tension sends pound tumbling


The pound tumbled Tuesday as Britain's exit from the EU took a step further into the unknown, with lawmakers overwhelmingly voting to reject Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Sterling suffered its sharpest losses earlier in the day, when the government's top legal advisor, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, said May's last-minute changes with the EU had not changed the legal risk Britain would be "indefinitely and involuntarily" held in the so-called Irish border backstop.

"Sterling took a nosedive on the back of the Cox statement," said ThinkMarkets analyst Naeem Aslam.

"It was his opinion which matters the most; now that he has made it clear that the recent deal has no weight, the door is wide open for sterling to move lower."

And move lower it did: the pound slid to as low as $1.3005 from $1.3143 just before Cox published his advice. The euro jumped to 86.55 pence from 85.75 pence.

Overnight, following news of May's hard-won EU concessions from Brussels, sterling had reached a three-week peak at $1.3289 and to 84.76 pence to the euro -- a level last seen in May 2017.

London's stock market, meanwhile, did well on Tuesday, as is often the case when sterling is weak. Frankfurt closed lower and Paris slightly up.

Boeing crisis
Wall Street shrugged off the Brexit chaos -- which increases the chances the world's fifth-largest economy could crash out of the European Union without a deal governing economic relations with the Continent.

US stocks swung to a split finish, with the crisis facing US aviation giant Boeing dragging down the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average while other indices inched higher.

Shares in Boeing fell another 6 percent, putting the stock down more than 11 percent since before Sunday's deadly crash.

Calls mounted in the United States for aviation regulators to suspend operations of Boeing's top-selling 737 MAX 8, which was involved in its second fatal crash in five months in Ethiopia.

So far, US officials have declined to do so, citing their ongoing investigation, as governments across the globe increasingly close their airspace to the planes or ground them.

The Dow, where Boeing is heavily weighted, fell 0.4 percent but the broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

"The transports are down. The Dow is down. That is mostly due to Boeing," Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital told AFP.

But Brexit, "is not having a major effect before the actual separation between the UK and the EU."
Investors were comforted by the latest benign reading on US inflation, which fell in February to its slowest annual pace in more than two years -- supporting the Federal Reserve's recent dovish turn on interest rates.

Key figures around 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3062 from $1.3150 at 2100 GMT on Monday
Euro/pound: UP at 86.46 pence from 85.50 pence
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1292 from $1.1245
Dollar/yen: UP at 111.29 yen from 111.21 yen
New York - DOW: DOWN 0.4 percent at 25,554.66 (close)
New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 2,791.52 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.4 percent at 7,591.03 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,151.15 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 11,524.17 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 5,270.25 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,303.95 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.8 percent at 21,503.69 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.5 percent at 28.920.87 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.1 percent at 3,060.31 (close)
Oil - Brent Crude: UP 9 cents at $66.67 per barrel
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 8 cents at $56.87
burs-dg/hs

British MPs resoundingly reject Brexit deal for second time
British MPs resoundingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal for a second time on Tuesday, plunging the country into further uncertainty just 17 days before it is due to split from the European Union.

The House of Commons voted 391-242 against the divorce deal, even after May secured further guarantees from Brussels over its most controversial elements.

The move risks unleashing economic chaos, as Britain is scheduled to end ties with its biggest trade partner after 46 years on March 29, no matter what.

Appearing before MPs in a voice half-breaking due to a cold, May defiantly vowed to fight on, saying she "profoundly" rejected the outcome.

"The deal we've negotiated is the best and indeed the only deal," she told the hushed chamber moments after the vote.

May promised to allow MPs to vote on a "no deal" option on Wednesday and, if that is rejected as expected, to decide on Thursday whether to ask the EU to delay Brexit.

She said parliament faced "unenviable choices" if it voted for an extension, including revoking Brexit, holding a second referendum or leaving with another deal.

However, eurosceptics believe the current deal is so bad that it is worth the risk of leaving with no plan.

The latest vote comes two years after Britain set the clock ticking on its departure from the EU following a highly divisive referendum in 2016.
Michel Barnier, the EU chief Brexit negotiator, said Brussels had nothing more to offer and must now brace for the possibility of a messy divorce.

"The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line," Barnier tweeted.

"The impasse can only be solved in the #UK. Our 'no-deal' preparations are now more important than ever before."

But a spokeswoman for European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said EU members would consider a "reasoned request" for a Brexit delay.

Germany's foreign minister said Tuesday that it was becoming increasingly likely that Britain would crash out of the bloc with no deal in place, accusing the country of "gambling carelessly with the well-being of citizens and the economy".

"Unfortunately, I can only say that at the moment Germany has prepared for all the worst cases as well as possible," Heiko Maas said.

Not a single change
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour party who has been trying to force snap elections, said May must now admit that her government's overarching strategy had failed.

"Their deal, their proposal, the one the prime minister's put, is clearly dead," Corbyn said, calling on her to negotiate for a softer Brexit to keep close economic ties with the EU.

After MPs first rejected the 585-page Brexit deal in January, May promised changes to the hated backstop plan which is intended to keep open the border with EU member Ireland.

She announced she had secured the promised "legally binding changes" to the backstop — which would keep Britain in the EU's customs union if and until a new way was found to avoid frontier checks — after a last-minute trip to Strasbourg to meet EU leaders on the eve of the vote.

Hours later, however, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said the additions would not completely allay MPs fears of being trapped in the arrangement forever.

It did not take long for Brexit-supporting MPs in May's Conservative party, and her allies, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to declare their opposition.

Some eurosceptics did change their mind, urging their colleagues not to risk everything.
Former minister Edward Leigh said: "You may not like the deal, it's not perfect, but it delivers Brexit and let's go for it."

But the margin of Tuesday's defeat was not substantially smaller than the 230-vote thumping the plan suffered on January 15.

The pound, which has been highly volatile since the 2016 referendum, initially rose after the vote but then sank against both the euro and dollar.

'No third chance'
The backstop is designed to protect the peace process in Northern Ireland, which involved the removal of border checks with the Republic of Ireland.

Brexit supporters wanted a unilateral way out of it, or a time limit to the arrangement, but the EU said this would make it worthless.
Leaders across Europe also united behind a message that this was the best and final offer Britain could expect.

"There will be no third chance," Juncker said after his talks on Monday with May.
If MPs vote against a no-deal exit on Wednesday, and want to postpone Brexit, the other 27 EU nations would need to agree.

Their leaders will meet in Brussels for a summit on March 21-22.
But any postponement may have to be short-lived.

Juncker on Monday said Brexit "should be complete before the European elections" at the end of May.

No majority in British parliament for second Brexit referendum: Reuters analysis
There is no majority in Britain's parliament in favor of holding a second Brexit referendum, according to a Reuters analysis of public comments made by lawmakers.

Britain is due to leave the European Union at the end of this month, and with parliament yet to approve Prime Minister Theresa May's exit deal, calls for a second referendum to break the deadlock, often dubbed a 'people's vote', have intensified.

Last month, the opposition Labour Party broke new ground for one of the major parties by saying it would support a new referendum on May's deal after parliament defeated its alternative Brexit plan.

Labour's position could face its first test on Tuesday when May's deal is brought back to parliament. Labour indicated on Sunday it would not put forward its own proposal for a second referendum at that time, but other lawmakers could force a vote on the issue.

While a majority of lawmakers voted to remain in the bloc in the 2016 referendum, a Reuters analysis of public comments found that only 219 have expressed a willingness to support another vote, and a further 65 have not made their views known.

This is well short of the 318 votes needed to guarantee approval of the amendment if there are no absences or abstentions.

A referendum would need to be approved by parliament and May has ruled out proposing one, saying it would deepen already ugly divisions over Britain's biggest decision since World War Two and betray the 52 percent - 17.4 million people - who voted to leave the EU.

Political statement
While Tuesday's votes on amendments are not binding on the government, they would be politically hard to ignore.

Those in favor of a new referendum include many Labour lawmakers, seven of May's Conservatives, the newly formed Independent Group and the pro-EU Liberal Democrats. The Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party has also backed the idea of another vote, although at least one of his lawmakers has voiced concern.

In contrast, 245 lawmakers openly oppose the idea, 15 are deeply skeptical and a further 94 government ministers and whips, or parliamentary enforcers, would be required to vote in line with the government's position against another referendum.

So far, 24 of Labour's 245 lawmakers have said publicly they do not support another referendum, while a further 13, many of whom represent areas that voted strongly in favor of leaving the EU, have expressed reservations.

"I will not, shall not and cannot vote for a second referendum, regardless of how much lipstick is put on it and what it is called," Labour lawmaker Gareth Snell told parliament after his party announced its backing for another vote.

"That is a distraction from the main purpose of our job, which is to find a deal."
Labour lawmaker Caroline Flint has said as many as 60 or 70 of her colleagues oppose a referendum.

It is unclear what conditions Labour might attach to supporting a second referendum, and there is disagreement within the party over whether any referendum should include an option to remain in the EU.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who voted against joining the EU in 1975, has said his party would support a referendum to "prevent a damaging Tory (Conservative) Brexit or disastrous 'no deal'" - leaving open the possibility that it would back a different deal without a popular vote.

Britain still divided
Some lawmakers may yet change their minds, particularly if any referendum was a confirmatory vote on whether to back May's deal, much as Corbyn suggests, rather than a re-run of the 2016 vote. But the numbers suggest it is likely to have difficulty getting through parliament.

Opinion polls indicate Britons are still deeply divided over Brexit. While most voters would stick to their 2016 choice, some surveys have shown a swing towards remaining in the EU.

A YouGov poll last month found that, when asked to choose between accepting May's deal and having another referendum, 51 percent favored a fresh vote and 49 percent - the deal.

Lawmakers across parties cite worries about prolonging uncertainty and increasing division as reasons for opposing a vote, while the most common argument is that it would be undemocratic to seek to overturn the result of a vote in which more than 30 million people took part.

But pro-referendum campaigners say voters did not know what kind of Brexit was available when they were offered a binary choice between "Remain" and "Leave" in the 2016 referendum.

"Now we know what Brexit looks like, now we know the cost, and now we know how badly Brexit compares to our current deal in the EU, the only way forward is to put it to the people," said Labour lawmaker and People's Vote campaigner David Lammy.