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Brexit crisis deepens as commons fails to find plan B

Pro-Brexit campaigners hold Union Jacks as they rally near the Houses of Parliament in London on March 29, 2019.

The U.K.'s deadlocked Parliament failed to agree on a new blueprint for Brexit, rejecting all the options that were put forward to replace Theresa May's unpopular deal.

On Monday the House of Commons voted on four different policies but none of them won a majority, pushing Britain's messy divorce from the European Union deeper into crisis. The pound fell.

With just 11 days left until the U.K. is due to exit the bloc of 28 nations, the stalemate leaves the prime minister with a crucial decision over what to do next. She will convene a meeting of her cabinet on Tuesday, likely to last five hours, to hash out a plan.

The options in front of May are stacked with danger. She could try again to get her own deal through in a parliamentary vote, despite it being rejected on three earlier occasions; she could seek a long delay to Brexit, which would enrage many euro-skeptics and could provoke resignations; or she could call for a general election or even a new referendum and let voters decide.

In a dramatic sign of how high tensions are running high in Parliament, one of the authors of a motion that was rejected resigned from the Conservative Party in the chamber.

"I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion," Boles told the Commons after the results were read out. "I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise."

Members of Parliament will have another chance to take over the Brexit agenda on Wednesday. But the path ahead is unclear. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay indicated the government could bring May's deal back for another vote this week to try to avoid a long extension of EU membership.

"The House has voted in favor of nothing. As a result in 11 days time, the UK will leave the EU without an agreement unless the prime minister acts," said Labour member of Parliament Hilary Benn.

The minister said if Parliament were to back an agreement later this week, it would be possible to avoid European Parliament elections next month, which many pro-Brexit Tories would regard as a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result.

"The House has voted in favor of nothing. As a result in 11 days time, the U.K. will leave the EU without an agreement unless the prime minister acts," said Labour member of Parliament Hilary Benn.

This article was written by Tim Ross and Robert Hutton, reporters for Bloomberg.