Brexit: What happens next?
PUBLISHED: 09:20 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:11 15 January 2019
Theresa May will put her Brexit deal to the Commons on Tuesday, with defeat almost guaranteed.
The vote had been scheduled to take place in December, but was called off at the 11th hour with Government victory looking unlikely.
And many MPs feel that, to ape one of Mrs May’s favourite sayings, nothing has changed.
MPs continue to be divided on the plans, with a number of pro-Remainers calling for Mrs May’s deal to be voted down. Some ardent Leavers are pushing for the same result, arguing that a no-deal Brexit is not something to be scared of.
MORE: From a ‘rotten deal’ to an ‘exciting future for the UK’ - what Norfolk and Waveney’s MPs say about the meaningful vote
Here we look at what may happen after Tuesday’s vote:
• Theresa May wins: This would allow the other EU 27 nations and the European Parliament to ratify the deal ahead of Brexit taking place on March 29, with an agreement on customs and many other areas of vital collaboration.
• 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 almost certain she will stay in office.
• Plan B is activated: The Prime Minister has yet to reveal what, if indeed there is one, her fallback position is, in the event of defeat, including it seems to Cabinet members. Under the terms of an amendment tabled by Dominic Grieve last week and controversially passed by MPs, she has until Monday to present a new plan to the Commons.
• Back to Brussels for more talks: The EU has said repeatedly that it will not reopen negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement, and “assurances” on the Irish border backstop were dismissed by Brexiteers on Monday. There is little time and no clear indication what more the EU can or wants to offer.
• Asking for an extension of Article 50: Mrs May has previously insisted almost to the point of foot-stamping that Britain will leave the EU on March 29, and a U-turn here would enrage already puce Brexiteers.
• Halting Article 50: A court case last year ruled that, while all 27 other EU states have to agree to extend the Article 50 process of leaving, the UK can unilaterally reverse it. But neither the Tories nor Labour support this.
• Jeremy Corbyn calls for a confidence vote in the Government: Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said on Monday such a motion was a case of when, not if. Such a vote could trigger a general election but this is very much the nuclear option for Tory rebels and the DUP have said they will not vote with Labour, so it could change very little.
• A second referendum: Labour members at conference left the door open to supporting a new vote on leaving if the party could not trigger a general election, something that will be pointed out increasingly noisily to Mr Corbyn if his confidence vote fails.
• A game of Boles: Tory former minister Nick Boles has plans for a new bill that would basically allow backbench MPs to wrestle control of the Brexit process if Theresa May loses Tuesday’s vote and cannot come up with a viable alternative. But it has so far attracted little support.
• No deal Brexit: If Theresa May loses and Parliament cannot come together behind an alternative, the UK will leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal. This is something to either be afraid of, or not afraid of, depending on your view of Brexit.