With just 30 days to go before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, the Parliament endorsed Prime Minister Theresa May's concession that if the MPs cannot agree on a deal to sever ties with the continent, Brexit might have to be delayed.

Yet beyond a consensus about possible postponement, the gridlock that has seized the British political class continued.

Last month, MPs overwhelmingly rejected May's 585-page withdrawal agreement, negotiated over two years with her European counterparts. May hasn't yet managed to sweeten the deal.

Today, Parliament decisively voted against a one-page outline of a Brexit plan proposed by the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.


Labour's vision for a soft Brexit would have seen Britain remain closely aligned with the EU customs, tariff and regulatory regimes and the continent's single market. Such a relationship would have meant that Britain would continue to allow EU migrants to live and work in the United Kingdom, while withdrawing from the EU legislature.

The British Parliament's rejection of Corbyn's plan - widely expected - could move the Labour Party closer toward throwing its full weight behind a new public vote on Brexit.

Amid fears of further defections from within its ranks, the Labour Party announced earlier this week that it would back a second referendum. At the time, the party said that if its plans for a soft Brexit was rejected by Parliament - as it was - then it would back a second public vote.

Keir Starmer, Labour's point person on Brexit, tweeted that he was "disappointed" that Labour's Brexit plans didn't get a thumbs up, but reiterated that Labour will "put forward or support an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit."

While momentum for a second referendum has grown in recent months - and advocates swarmed Westminster today - it's not clear how many MPs actually want a do-over.

A second referendum would enrage parts of the British public, including many of the pro-Brexit demonstrators outside of Parliament, some holding aloft placards that read "leave means leave" and "Brexit means Brexit - not blackmail."

As British MPs acknowledged that they may have to ask Brussels to allow a delay, European leaders warned that an extension would not be automatic.

French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said a Brexit delay would need to be "justified" by "new British choices," suggesting that May's Government would need to signal where this is all headed - versus asking for more time just because they are stuck.