Brexit protesters demonstrate in Westminster as Parliament votes on Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement. Photo: Sputnik via AFP / Justin Griffiths-Williams

The United Kingdom’s long national nightmare dragged on this week, with the country now assured to stay in the European Union past the March 29 deadline, laying waste to any pretense that Prime Minister Theresa May could follow through on her promise.

A third parliamentary vote on an agreement negotiated between May’s government and the EU failed on Friday, leaving both those in favor of leaving the bloc and those who want to stay in a state of dejection.

The EU warned earlier in the week that a no-deal Brexit is “increasingly likely” by April 11, an analysis that is only reinforced by the vote on Friday.

Supporters of the exit filled the streets of London after the vote.

The protest followed a large-scale demonstration earlier in the week, with some waving EU flags calling for a new referendum. The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that the march was potentially on par with the largest in nearly 20 years.

Non-binding votes on various proposals earlier this week, which allowed members of Parliament to vote on multiple options, did not yield a clear alternative. But two options, one for the UK to join a permanent customs union with the EU and another for the country to hold a new referendum, both attracted sizable vote tallies, leading to speculation that one could succeed in a later vote.

European Council President Donald Tusk announced that a meeting of the council would be held on April 10 in response to Britain’s vote.

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