Soon after the House of Commons voted 391-242 against the divorce deal, British PM Theresa May told the hushed chamber: 'The deal we've negotiated is the best and indeed the only deal,'
Appearing before MPs in a voice half-breaking due to a cold, Mrs. May defiantly vowed to fight on, saying she 'profoundly' rejected the outcome.
But British MPs resoundingly rejected the Prime Minister, Mrs. Theresa May's Brexit deal for a second time on Tuesday, plunging the country into further uncertainty just 17 days before it is due to split from the European Union.
The House of Commons voted 391-242 against the divorce deal, even after Mrs. May secured further guarantees from Brussels over its most controversial elements. The move risks unleashing economic chaos, as Britain is scheduled to end ties with its biggest trade partner after 46 years on March 29, no matter what.
Mrs. May promised to allow MPs to vote on a 'no deal' option on Wednesday and, if that is rejected as expected, to decide on Thursday whether to ask the EU to delay Brexit. She said parliament faced 'unenviable choices' if it voted for an extension, including revoking Brexit, holding a second referendum or leaving with another deal.
However, eurosceptics believe the current deal is so bad that it is worth the risk of leaving with no plan. The latest vote comes two years after Britain set the clock ticking on its departure from the EU following a highly divisive referendum in 2016.
Mr. Michel Barnier, the EU chief Brexit negotiator, said Brussels had nothing more to offer and must now brace for the possibility of a messy divorce. 'The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line.'
'The impasse can only be solved in the #UK. Our 'no-deal' preparations are now more important than ever before."
But a spokeswoman for European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said EU members would consider a 'reasoned request' for a Brexit delay.
Germany's foreign minister said Tuesday that it was becoming increasingly likely that Britain would crash out of the bloc with no deal in place, accusing the country of 'gambling carelessly with the well-being of citizens and the economy".
'Unfortunately, I can only say that at the moment Germany has prepared for all the worst cases as well as possible,' Mr. Heiko Maas said.
Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour party who has been trying to force snap elections, said Mrs. May must now admit that her government's overarching strategy had failed.
'Their deal, their proposal, the one the prime minister's put, is clearly dead,' Mr. Corbyn said, calling on her to negotiate for a softer Brexit to keep close economic ties with the EU.
After MPs first rejected the 585-page Brexit deal in January, Mrs. May promised changes to the hated backstop plan which is intended to keep open the border with EU member Ireland. She announced she had secured the promised 'legally binding changes' to the backstop -- which would keep Britain in the EU's customs union if and until a new way was found to avoid frontier checks -- after a last-minute trip to Strasbourg to meet EU leaders on the eve of the vote.
Hours later, however, the Attorney General, Mr. Geoffrey Cox, said the additions would not completely allay MPs fears of being trapped in the arrangement forever. It did not take long for Brexit-supporting MPs in Mrs. May's Conservative party, and her allies, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to declare their opposition.