Brexit deal vote what if...?
MPs debate the PM Theresa May's Brext deal ahead of the crucial vote on Tuesday
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. 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. Here we look at what could happen if her Withdrawal Agreement is rejected by the Commons: Try again 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. Theresa May quits 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... Backbench rebellion 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. Second referendum 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. Snap General Election 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.
Labour try to force an election
Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act the Opposition would have to win a vote of no confidence in the PM in the Commons and then hope the Conservatives could put together a Government which could win a second vote of no confidence, in which case a General Election would be called. It would mean the DUP and a clutch of Tory rebels would have to side with Jeremy Corbyn, which seems unlikely. Nodeal Brexit The warnings from institutions such as the Bank of England, the CBI, and the Government's own technical papers suggest the impact of leaving without a deal on March 29 could be calamitous though some Brexiteers say much of this is an exaggeration.
But if everything else fails it's possible that it could happen.