Saturday, 19 October, 2019

What next if PM's deal finally goes down in flames?

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Pablo Mccormick | 20 January, 2019, 18:30

After 200 speeches across eight days of debate, members of the House of Commons ignored the Prime Minister's final pleas to support her plan and threw it out by 432 votes to 202.

If the deal is defeated by a big margin, Prime Minister Theresa May will face pressure to resign.

Scenarios should May suffer a defeat next week include her resignation, vote of no confidence in government, general elections, or a public referendum on the deal.

Corbyn has promised a vote of no confidence on the back of a government defeat on Tuesday.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour party, meanwhile, has indicated that his party is likely to table a no-confidence vote shortly after the vote.

A defeat would leave Britain on course to leave the European Union with no new trading arrangements in place.

May, who is fighting to save her withdrawal agreement negotiated with the bloc over 18 months of talks, told lawmakers they must not let down Brexit-backers in a crunch parliamentary vote Tuesday.

May now has 24 hours to save her government.

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Her goal is to leave the European Union in line with what people voted for. She continues to say she does not believe doing so would be a good idea, but is not categorically ruling it out.

MPs would then have the chance to scrutinise this plan.

The fate of the United Kingdom's March 29 exit from the European Union is deeply uncertain as parliament is likely to vote down May's deal on Tuesday evening, opening up outcomes ranging from a disorderly divorce to reversing Brexit altogether. "Every day that passes without this issue being resolved means more uncertainty, more bitterness and more rancor", May said.

But there was little doubt in Westminster that Mrs May would hang on and was likely to survive the motion of no-confidence.

- Theresa May loses and resigns: While the PM has said she will not lead the Tories into another general election, she has consistently ruled out quitting before Brexit, so it seems nearly certain she will stay in office.

The route to a second referendum on Brexit - or a people's vote - is unclear.

May postponed a vote on the deal in December to avoid a resounding defeat, and there are few signs sentiment has changed significantly since then.

Moments after the vote, European Council President Donald Tusk demanded the United Kingdom "clarify its intentions" on its plan "as soon as possible". "The risk of a disorderly exit has increased with this vote and, while we do not want this to happen, we will be prepared for it".

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"When you turned out to vote in the referendum, you did so because you wanted your voice to be heard".

The Prime Minister is set to head back to Brussels in yet another attempt to secure concessions from the EU on the deal - something EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has repeatedly said he is not willing to do.

"I am working on ways to achieve that outcome", Boles added, noting he would publish the plan on Tuesday. "Time is nearly up", Juncker wrote.

The Labour leader added that MPs would "not be fooled" by last-ditch assurances over the Irish border and said letters from the European Union and the Prime Minister were "nothing more than a repetition of exactly the same position that was pulled more than one month ago".

Untangling a 45-year marriage was not as easy as some Brexiteers claimed it would be.

The DUP has been saying for weeks that its 10 MPs will vote against the deal due to their opposition to the backstop, which would see extra checks for some goods coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, if it took effect.

With a "no deal" Brexit the default option if May's deal is defeated, some lawmakers are planning to try to pull control of Brexit from the government.

It is likely that Tories and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which props up her government, would still stand by her - for now.

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It's hard to see an obvious way out of the mess.

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