What's been the reaction to Theresa May's Brexit deal defeat?

What's been the reaction to Theresa May's Brexit deal defeat?
By Chris Harris
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Lots of strong adjectives being used to describe May's divorce deal defeat.


UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a sore defeat on Monday evening after her Brexit deal was voted down in parliament with 432 votes to 202.

It marked the worst parliamentary defeat in the UK's history,

From the UK

Prime Minister Theresa May

"It is clear that the House does not support this deal. But tonight"s vote tells us nothing about what it does support. Nothing about how - or even if - it intends to honour the decision the British people took in a referendum Parliament decided to hold."

Arch-Brexiter and MEP Nigel Farage

"A catastrophic failure of leadership by Theresa May. If she has any sense of honour then she will resign."

Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake

"I'm quite shocked [at the defeat]. When, in the last few days, the government has been spinning that they could lose by 200 votes we thought, in reality, it would be 100 votes.

"This defeat is astonishing: the largest defeat suffered in more than 100 years.

"It's expected that the prime minister will win the vote of no confidence but she said she'll be back in parliament by Monday to give her plan B. I hope she will put her deal, which has just been defeated, back to the people."

UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond

"I strongly back Theresa May as she reaches out across the House to build a political consensus to deliver a negotiated Brexit deal that honours the referendum result while protecting Britain's jobs, business and prosperity."

Confederation of British Industry

"Every business will feel no-deal is hurtling closer. A new plan is needed immediately. This is now time for our politicians to make history as leaders."

Labour MP Stephen Doughty

"It's as bad as it gets. This is a catastrophic defeat for the prime minister but most importantly for the deal that she's put forward and this is the worst defeat in over a 100 years in parliament for a government.

"In normal circumstances, it would have led to her immediate removal and the collapse of the government but, because of the legislation we have, it means we have a fixed-term parliament and we now go into the process of a no-confidence motion in government.

"She's going to have to change course and I believe the way she should do that is to put this issue back to the people."

Ex-foreign minister Boris Johnson

"Tonight has made it clear that the current Withdrawal Agreement is dead. The government must now go back to Brussels and negotiate a better deal without the backstop."

London mayor Sadiq Khan

"MPs from all sides have rejected this bad Brexit deal.

"What happens next will define our future for decades to come.

"The only sensible course of action now is to withdraw Article 50 and give British people the final say - with the option to stay in the EU."

Labour MP David Lammy

"This historic government defeat will offer hope to young people, to those already struggling to pay the bills who are worried about looming economic disaster, and to the millions of people across the country who hope that this national crisis can now be averted."

From the wider European Union

European Council President Donald Tusk

"If a deal is impossible, and no one wants a no-deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?"


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

"The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom has increased with this evening's vote. While we do not want this to happen, the European Commission will continue its contingency work to help ensure the EU is fully prepared. I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up."

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz

"The ball is now in London - there will certainly be no renegotiation to the withdrawal agreement. Our goal remains to avoid a hard-Brexit and continue to work as closely as possible with Great Britain in the future. That's what I talked about tonight with Michel Barnier."

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel

"We will guarantee the rights of our citizens and defend our companies. Maintaining strong economic and trade relations is essential. In close collaboration with EU the Belgian government prepares itself and takes concrete measures (bill, recrutement,...)."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

"I regret, yet respect the result of the vote in the House of Commons on the current Brexit deal. The Netherlands and the EU are still behind the agreement, but will keep preparing for all scenarios. Despite this setback, it does not mean we are in a no-deal situation. The next step is up to the UK."

French President Emmanuel Macron

“First option, they go towards a no deal. They say: ‘there is no deal’. That’s scary for everybody. The first losers in this would be the British.”


“Second option, they tell us - in my view, that’s what they’ll do, I know them a bit - ‘we’ll try to improve what we can get from the Europeans and we’ll get back for a vote’.”

“In that case, we’ll look into it, maybe we’ll make improvements on one or two things, but I don’t really think so because we’ve reached the maximum of what we could do with the deal and we won’t, just to solve Britain’s domestic political issues, stop defending European interests.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

"In terms of things Brexit, the ball is now in the UK's court. It didn't become clear yesterday what they want-just what they don't want. In Germany, we have passed two major legislative packages in order to be prepared for everything. But: We hope for reason."

German MEP Udo Bullmann

"If nothing works in Parliament, there is only one solution - ask the people again."

German MEP Manfred Weber

"The outcome of the vote in the House of Commons tonight is disappointing. Instead of clarity, the vote produces more uncertainty. Brexit is a lose-lose situation and today's vote has increased the possibility of a very damaging Brexit.


"The deal on the table respects the UK's red lines and protests our citizens and companies from the surreal possibility of a no-deal Brexit. The government should swiftly provide clarity on the next steps. The time for one-lines has run out, we need concrete choices."

German car industry association VDA

"With today's decision, the majority of parliament has done its country a disservice. Now an uncontrolled Brexit is more likely. The consequences of a 'no deal’ would be fatal."

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