Britain's parliament has rejected for a second time Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal to leave the European Union.
British lawmakers voted 391 to 242 against May's plan Tuesday, 17 days before Britain is to withdraw from the political and economic alliance.
The vote meant Britain will have to choose: leaving the EU without a deal; delaying the March 29 departure date; or having a new Brexit vote.
May told lawmakers before the vote, "If this vote is not passed tonight, if this deal is not passed, then Brexit could be lost."
On Wednesday, lawmakers will vote on whether Britain should leave the world's biggest trading group without a deal. Business leaders warn that such an exit would cause severe disorder in markets and supply chains. Others say it could cause shortages of food and medicines.
Supporters of Brexit argue the withdrawal would permit Britain to succeed and negotiate new trade deals across the world.
However, parliament is expected to reject a "no-deal" Brexit as well. If so, lawmakers Thursday will then vote on whether to request a delay of the withdrawal to permit further talks.
After two and a half years of Brexit negotiation, both May and the EU have already ruled out any other changes to the deal.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday, "There will be no third chance. There will be no further interpretations of the interpretations, no further assurances of the reassurances if the 'meaningful vote' tomorrow fails."
In 2016, 52 percent of Britons voted to leave the E.U. Forty-eight percent voted to remain in the group. The result has divided Britain over concerns about immigration and economic globalization.
Opponents fear that Brexit will leave Britain economically weaker and with reduced security capabilities. Supporters say it would let Britain control immigration and seize global opportunities.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on reports from the Associated Press and Reuters news agencies. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
exit - n. the act of going out or away?; a departure
interpretation - n. the way something is explained or understood?
assurance - n. confidence of mind or manner: easy freedom from self-doubt or uncertainty?
globalization - n. something made or done to involve or affect the entire world?
opportunity - n. a good chance for advancement or progress?