U.K. lawmakers have rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in place, setting up another vote Thursday on whether its official departure date should be extended.
A no-deal exit was widely expected to be defeated as most MPs (Members of Parliament) want to avoid the economic uncertainty and trade disruptions that it could cause.
However, the evening saw more drama than many had predicted after lawmakers effectively hijacked Prime Minister Theresa May's parliamentary motion. May's government had asked Parliament to vote on ruling out a no-deal Brexit for the official March 29 deadline. But before that, MPs narrowly backed an amendment that rejected a no-deal Brexit under any circumstance.
This important change led to May's government ordering its own MPs to vote against its own motion. But the amended motion still passed by 321 votes to 278. The vote was non-binding but it showed the strength of feeling among lawmakers and will hold political weight in future debates.
"Today's large rebellion severely undermines Prime Minister Theresa May's authority and could lead to ministerial resignations," analysts at Citi said in a research note after the result. "Snap elections have become much more likely."