Brexit deal vote - what if...?

MPs de­bate the PM Theresa May's Brext deal ahead of the cru­cial vote on Tues­day

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - BREXIT NEWS - By David Wil­cock, PA

MPs be­gan five days of de­bates later on Tues­day ahead of a mean­ing­ful vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal - the most im­por­tant par­lia­men­tary de­ci­sion in decades.

The Prime Min­is­ter started the de­bate know­ing she faces an up­hill task in con­vinc­ing enough mem­bers of her own party, let alone the op­po­si­tion, to vote it through.

De­bates took place on De­cem­ber 4, 5 and 6 this week and will con­tinue on De­cem­ber 10 and 11 next week, with up to eight hours al­lot­ted to it each day.

Af­ter days of de­bates they will vote on the plan she agreed with Brus­sels af­ter months of bru­tal talks with the EU and mem­bers of her own Gov­ern­ment.

If that is passed on De­cem­ber 11 it will al­low the Gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce the EU (With­drawal Agree­ment) Bill to the Com­mons ei­ther be­fore Christ­mas or af­ter re­cess in Jan­uary.

How will the vote go?

It's hard to say. Some 20 Con­ser­va­tive MPs have said pub­licly they will vote against Mrs May's deal, 45 have said they will not vote in favour and more than 20 have said they are un­happy with it.

With Mrs May's mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment al­lies the DUP also ex­press­ing their own con­cerns, the chance of the deal be­ing ap­proved with a sim­ple ma­jor­ity of 320 of the 639 MPs el­i­gi­ble to vote is highly un­likely.

Any amend­ment would need to ap­peal to a wide enough group of MPs to re­ceive the re­quired votes to be suc­cess­ful. Ab­sten­tions are likely on all votes.

What hap­pens if it fails

Here we look at what could hap­pen if her With­drawal Agree­ment is re­jected by the Com­mons:

The Euro­pean Union has been adamant this is a take it or leave it deal that can­not be rene­go­ti­ated. But if faced with the threat of a calami­tous nodeal Brexit and fol­low­ing a nar­row Com­mons de­feat, Mrs May might fancy test­ing their re­solve and see­ing if she can get some cos­metic changes to ap­pease enough MPs to win a sec­ond vote.

Hav­ing made it this far and taken brick­bats from all sides for months, and re­peated as­ser­tions she will not quit, it seems un­likely. But if the de­feat is heavy enough it can­not be to­tally ruled out. How­ever...

Hard­line Tory Brex­i­teers may have failed to muster the send­ing of enough let­ters of no con­fi­dence in the Prime Min­is­ter to back­bench supremo Sir Gra­ham Brady a fort­night ago and trig­ger a lead­er­ship bat­tle but they are not the only un­happy ones and once the vote is over other play­ers could make a move.

Theresa May has said no, Labour say yes but only if they do not get a Gen­eral Elec­tion. It would pos­si­bly re­quire an ex­ten­sion of Ar­ti­cle 50 to de­lay Brexit, with Tory for­mer ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary Jus­tine Green­ing say­ing on Thurs­day it could lo­gis­ti­cally be held by the end of May.

The ul­ti­mate gam­ble for the Prime Min­is­ter, who has to hope that vot­ers will, via the bal­lot box, back her plan. Labour has long called for an elec­tion be­liev­ing that, af­ter the 2017 elec­tion re­sulted in a hung par­lia­ment, it has the head­way.

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