British parliament rejected all eight Brexit alternatives presented on Wednesday, banishing any hope that so-called indicative votes might clarify the Brexit agenda.

Prime Minister Theresa May also promised to resign if Conservatives supported her deal—already rejected twice. In an unprecedented move, parliament had already wrested control from the executive mid-March.

But House of Commons speaker John Bercow forbade a third deliberation of May’s deal unless its terms were substantially different.

Now, hardline Brexiters in the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party—whose votes May needs—have announced they will never back May’s deal.

What the British legislature might rally behind, what the executive may do next, and who will break the stalemate remain unresolved questions.

In international law, the executive negotiates treaties on behalf of the sovereign—or people. The legislature represents public will, and must ratify any agreements drafted by the executive.

The UK's legislature has rejected leaving without a deal while failing to approve one. The executive controls neither its cabinet nor its party.

Lawmakers’ competing allegiances—to constituents, party, and personal views—have fuelled the confusion.

In an emergency political deadlock, who should have the authority to control crucial agendas: the executive or legislature?

     

Credit for this article's header image goes to Reuters.