June 12, 2019 / 3:59 PM / 14 days ago

MPs reject opposition move to block no-deal Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) - British lawmakers on Wednesday defeated an attempt led by the opposition Labour Party to try to block a no-deal Brexit by seizing control of the parliamentary agenda from the government.

Lawmakers voted 309 to 298 against the measure, which would have given opponents of leaving the European Union without an exit deal guaranteed time in parliament on June 25 to introduce legislation.

Britain’s ruling Conservative Party is searching for a new leader after Prime Minister Theresa May resigned, having failed three times to persuade parliament to back her Brexit deal.

That has spurred some of those hoping to succeed her - including front-runner Boris Johnson - to promise that they will not delay Brexit beyond its current scheduled date of Oct. 31.

Lawmakers in all the opposition parties, and some in the Conservatives, fear that a no-deal could inflict serious economic and political damage on Britain, and have vowed to find a way to try to prevent it.

“This is just the start, not the end of our efforts to block no-deal,” Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said following the vote.

“Labour stands ready to use whatever mechanism it can to protect jobs, the economy and communities from the disastrous consequences of a no-deal Brexit.”

Although the defeat closes off one route for parliamentarians to try and prevent a no-deal exit, the flexibility of Britain’s parliamentary system means others could be found in the weeks and months ahead.

Reporting by William James, Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison

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