Theresa May is on a doomed mission to renegotiate Brexit

Britain is heading for a new showdown with the European Union after Theresa May bowed to pressure from UK lawmakers who demanded she renegotiate her hard-fought Brexit deal.

In a sharp reversal of policy, the British Prime Minister agreed to return to Brussels and reopen Brexit talks, even though she previously said the idea was a non-starter and the EU has repeatedly insisted the deal is locked down.

Lawmakers voted 317 to 301 to order May to seek new terms with the EU over the Irish border, a totemic issue for hardline Brexiteers that has dogged May for months. May had earlier told the House of Commons she would support the initiative, in an effort to persuade a majority of MPs to back some kind of Brexit plan.

After the vote, the EU said there was no chance of reopening the Withdrawal Agreement -- signed by May in November but comprehensively rejected by the House of Commons a month later.

In a series of votes on Tuesday, lawmakers also rejected a no-deal Brexit, by 318 votes to 310. But the measure is not legally binding, and lawmakers failed to pass any plan that would have prevented the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on March 29.

Speaking immediately after the votes, May said she would go back to the EU but admitted renegotiation with Brussels would be tough. "There is limited appetite for such a change in the EU and negotiating it will not be easy," May told Parliament. "But in contrast to a fortnight ago, this House has made clear what it needs to agree a deal."

To succeed, May must secure concessions within weeks on issues that have been raked over for months.

The EU showed no sign of giving in to the UK on Tuesday. A spokesman for Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, insisted that the Brexit deal "is not open for renegotiation."

"The Withdrawal Agreement is and remains the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union," the spokesman told CNN.

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