On Jan. 15, lawmakers are expected to vote down a deal May struck with the EU in November. This has left the future of Brexit in deep uncertainty and the options the country has range from a disorderly exit to another referendum.
On Tuesday, lawmakers voted to block possible preparations for a no-deal Brexit, dealing May another crushing blow. They voted to curtail the government’s powers to amend laws that would allow smooth taxation after a no-deal Brexit, Presstv Reported.
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said in an interview that lawmakers are under a delusion that there would be alternative deals.
“I don’t think the British public are served by fantasies about magical, alternative deals that are somehow going to spring out of cupboard in Brussels.”
“This deal on the table has involved some very difficult give and take on both sides,” Lidington told BBC radio.
The 303 to 296 defeat on Tuesday means May needs explicit parliamentary approval to leave the bloc without a deal and highlights the prime minister’s weak position as leader of a minority government.
Though Lidington said the vote showed that the majority of lawmakers do not want a no-deal, he noted that showing what they do not want was not enough.
If there is no alternative, the default position would be leaving the EU without a deal, he added.
“Parliament has to say what it is that they are prepared to vote for,” he said. “This is a deal negotiated by us and 27 other sovereign government around Europe.”
Meanwhile, a junior minister in the department managing the Brexit process said that parliament is not able to stop Brexit.
"Is there a parliamentary route by which Brexit can be stopped? I do not believe so," Chris Heaton-Harris told a parliamentary committee hearing on Wednesday.
"With the legislation that we have passed, if we do not leave with a deal, currently, we will be leaving without a deal."
With less than three months until Britain leaves the EU, May is struggling to win approval for her Brexit deal.
The split has triggered angry protests near parliament recently, with some protesters wrapping themselves in the flag of the European Union and interrupting politicians’ live appearances on TV, while others yelling “Nazi” and “traitor.”
Some lawmakers have called on police to do more to stop intimidation of politicians and journalists outside parliament following an incident where protesters yelled abuse at a prominent Conservative lawmaker.
On Monday, Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry, a pro-European, who has called for a second referendum on Brexit, was having a live TV interview while protesters were chanting, “Soubry is a Nazi” and “liar.”
“I do object to being called a Nazi,” Soubry said. “This is what has happened to our country.”
Following the incident, more than 60 lawmakers wrote a letter to the London police chief Cressida Dick on Tuesday, expressing concern about the “deteriorating public order and security situation” around parliament.