Prime Minister Theresa May has a second chance to try and convince MPs of passing her Brexit plan in five fresh days of debate in the House of Commons. She was forced to pull the meaningful vote before Christmas in the face of a humiliating defeat from both sides of the political spectrum. Little appears to have changed since then with opposing voices sticking firm to their rejection of the current deal.
Former Brexit minister Suella Braverman told BBC’s Newsnight she would not back Mrs May in the forthcoming vote “unless something changed democratically”.
She also said many of her colleagues were in agreement with her view.
What is the meaningful vote?
The meaningful vote is a clause in the European (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ensuring Parliament must agree on Mrs May’s bill before it is passed.
The much-debated amendment spent a lot of time being ping-ponged between the House of Lords and House of Commons last summer.
Under original plans, MPs would have been able to stop block Brexit bill’s passage in a majority vote against it.
But the House of Lords and the Commons could not agree on the terms.
A revision tabled by MP Dominic Grieve would have enabled MPs to amend and vote on a motion in Parliament if no deal had been reached by January 21.
But this was rejected by Brexiteers and was voted down by 319 votes to 303 in June.
As the vote stands now, MPs can still debate the finer points – as they will do over the next five days – but the government need not necessarily act on it.
Mrs May does not want to allow politicians the chance to vote on amendments to the Brexit bill, already agreed by Brussels, as it could create legal ambiguity.
MPs can put forward motions on straightforward issues – and one of these could be a vote of no confidence against the government.
This is one of several possibilities on the table if the Commons vote fails next Tuesday.
In the meantime, May has tried to secure concessions from the EU to gain more support but it looks likely that MPs will reject her plans.
And that means we will be in “unchartered territory”, according to the Prime Minister.
There are several possible outcomes if the deal is rejected including leaving with a no-deal, calls for a second referendum or general election, a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government or a renegotiation of the terms.
This vastly increases the chance of the UK crashing out of the European with no deal in place on March 29.