THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that Britain could now leave the European Union without a deal, after UK lawmakers rejected for a third time a withdrawal agreement negotiated by the EU and Prime Minister Theresa May.
“The risk of a no-deal Brexit is very real,” Rutte told reporters minutes after the vote in the British parliament.
“One of the two routes to an orderly Brexit seems now to be closed. This leaves only the other route, which is for the British to make clear what they want before April 12.”
A further extension of the Brexit process beyond that date can only be granted if the purpose is clear, Rutte said, calling upon lawmakers to take a broader look at the available options.
“We can’t stay in the same small circle forever. In the next 10 days we will have to hear from Britain what they want.”
Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer; Editing by Gareth Jones and Hugh Lawson