An anti-Brexit campaigner shows her support for Europe waving a European Union flag outside Parliament in London, March 25, 2019.
An anti-Brexit campaigner shows her support for Europe waving a European Union flag outside Parliament in London, March 25, 2019.

LONDON - British lawmakers voted on Monday to wrest control of Brexit from Prime Minister Theresa May for a day in a bid to find a way through the European Union divorce impasse that a majority in parliament could support.

Lawmakers should now vote on a range of Brexit options on Wednesday, giving parliament a chance to indicate whether it can agree on a deal with closer ties to Brussels, and then try to push the government in that direction.

The move underlined to what extent May has lost her authority, although she said the government would not be bound by the results of the so-called indicative votes on Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May reacts after tellers announced the results of the vote Brexit deal in Parliament in London, Britain, March 12, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video.
British PM May Lacks Support for Brexit Deal
British Prime Minister Theresa May says she does not have enough support in parliament to hold a third vote on a deal for Britain's exit from the European Union."But I also indicated that I was continuing to talk to colleagues across this House [of Commons], and I would hope to be able to bring back a vote in this House that enables us to guarantee Brexit," she told parliament. …

Monday's vote was put forward by Oliver Letwin, a lawmaker in May's Conservative Party, and came after the prime minister admitted that the deal she had agreed with the EU after two years of talks still did not have enough support to pass.

Lawmakers backed Letwin's proposal by 329 votes to 302, and were almost certain to confirm their decision in the final vote of the evening on the overall "motion as amended."

Earlier, May said the proposal would set an unwelcome precedent and could lead to support for an outcome to which the EU itself would not agree.

"No government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is," May said before the vote. "So I cannot commit the government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this house."

FILE - British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves a
FILE - British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after addressing a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, March 22, 2019.

Last week, the EU agreed to delay Britain's original March 29 departure date because of the deadlock. Now, it will leave the EU on May 22 if May's deal is approved by parliament this week. If not, it will have until April 12 to outline its plans.

Monday's vote was an attempt to find a way to come up with such a plan European Council President Donald Tusk said last week that all Brexit options were still open for Britain until April 12, including a deal, a departure with no deal, a long extension - or even revoking Article 50 and remaining in the EU.

But nearly three years after the 2016 EU membership referendum and four days before Britain was supposed to leave the bloc, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit would take place, with parliament and the nation still bitterly divided.

FILE - A pro-Brexit protester holds a banner as an
FILE - A pro-Brexit protester holds a banner as anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, in London, Jan. 15, 2019.

May's deal was defeated in parliament by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15, but she had signaled that she would bring it back a third time this week.

To get her deal passed, May must win over at least 75 MPs who voted against her on March 12 - dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some opposition Labour Party MPs and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government but has voted against the deal so far.

"Why would the prime minister ever expect us to give support to an agreement which is based on a lie?" DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson told BBC television.