Politics update: MPs vote on May’s Brexit deal, after last-ditch plea for support in Commons

Politics-update-15.01.2019-Brexit-vote-on-deal-compressor

MPs vote on May’s Brexit deal

Politics-update-15.01.2019-Brexit-vote-on-deal-compressor

Theresa May defends her deal in the Commons on Monday.

MPs will finally have their say on Theresa May’s Brexit deal today, as they have their ‘meaningful vote’, which will likely result in an overwhelming defeat for the prime minister.

On Monday afternoon Theresa May made a last-ditch attempt to win support for her Brexit deal, asking MPs to give her deal “a second look”, acknowledging that she had not received the reassurances she had sought from EU leaders over the past month.

“I recognise what I brought back was not what some members wanted from the European Union, but it is not the case that this has not gone further than when we were initially discussing the debate.” May told the Commons on Monday.

The prime minister continued: “There have been some further assurances from the EU but I accept those are not the same level of assurance that some members of this House wished.”

Many estimates show that around two-thirds of MPs are on course to vote against May’s Brexit deal when it reaches parliament, leaving the prime minister to make the difficult choice of proposing a new plan, calling a general election, or resigning.

The vote is expected to take place between 7pm-9pm on Tuesday evening.

If May’s deal is voted down, what happens next?

Politics update 22.11.2018 May Juncker Brexit

It is believed that the Labour party will table a vote of no-confidence in the government as soon as the deal is voted down. Apart from this, anything could happen:

Scenario 1) The deal is re-negotiated

This is perhaps the most likely outcome. Thanks to an amendment by Dominic Grieve voted through in the Commons earlier this month, Theresa May will have just three days to return to parliament with a plan for how to proceed with Brexit. Article 50 will almost certainly have to be extended.

Scenario 2) May stands down

If Theresa May stands down, a Conservative leadership election would ensue. This would distract from Brexit proceedings, and most likely cause for disruption to them. The successive leader would then have to decide how to proceed. Given the prime minister’s past stubbornness, she is unlikely to stand down.

Scenario 3) Vote of no-confidence

Theoretically, a vote of no-confidence becomes more likely as Theresa May loses the trust of her party. 48 letters of no-confidence need to be submitted to launch a vote, and if the deal is voted down, her weakened position may lead Tory MPs to seal her fate. However, the prime minister is likely to survive the vote, if it is passed.

Scenario 4) Labour forces a general election

Jeremy Corbyn has said his party will try to force an early election by seeking a vote of no-confidence in the government, if the deal is voted down. This would see the Conservative party face the public at its weakest point, having just failed to win Commons support, making it Labour’s current preferred tactic.

Scenario 5) No-deal Brexit

This would be the most damaging in terms of the economy, however it does have support from hardline Brexiters.

EU dismisses the possibility of backstop time limit

Donald-Tusk

The EU has dismissed a 12-month time limit on the Irish border backstop proposed by Theresa May, new letters published by Downing Street have revealed.

No 10 published an exchange of letters between the prime minister, Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, which show the EU leaders rebuff the idea of a backstop time-limit, but suggest that technology could solve the Irish border issue.

In response to a letter from May, Juncker, the European commission president, and Tusk, president of the European Council, signed a joint letter which vows that “facilitative arrangements and technologies” could be considered an alternative to the Irish border backstop.

However, the letter fails to provide any assurances that a backstop, if it came into effect, would only be a temporary solution to preventing an hard border in Ireland should trade talks collapse.

The letter is unlikely to win any support from MPs in the Commons who already oppose the deal. Opponents to May’s plans have repeatedly called for legal assurances on the backstop, and Monday marked the prime minister’s last attempt at providing these.

Corbyn could table no-confidence motion within minutes of Brexit deal’s defeat

Jeremy Corbyn Wakefield Speech

Jeremy Corbyn could table a no-confidence motion against the government only minutes after Theresa May’s Brexit deal is defeated on Tuesday.

The Telegraph reported on Monday that Labour MPs have been told to ‘expect a vote on Wednesday’, with the Labour leader set to launch the motion in the immediate aftermath of the ‘meaningful vote’ on Tuesday.
The newspaper reports that a source close to Corbyn said that there were “arguments for doing it then”, but declined to give a precise timetable for when the motion would be tabled.

The report comes after Corbyn told the Commons on Monday night that it would be “time for a general election” if May’s deal is voted down in the Commons.

Speaking on Monday, Corbyn said: “It is clear if the Prime Minister’s deal is rejected tomorrow – it is time for a general election – it is time for a new government.”

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