Brexit: What happens now after Theresa May’s deal defeat

Anti-Brexit supporters in Westminster, London. Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire
Anti-Brexit supporters in Westminster, London. Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire
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No-deal

MPs will vote today on whether to accept a no-deal Brexit. A large number of Tories are determined to stop no-deal, so there should be a majority to rule it out. But the vote could do further damage to the government. Theresa May has given her MPs a free vote on whether to reject no-deal or keep it on the table.

She faces the prospect of walking through a different vote lobby from her Chancellor, on the day he delivers what is likely to be a dire no-deal warning in his Spring Statement.

Article 50 
extension

Downing Street will also honour the promise of a vote on extending Article 50. There are reports that cabinet has agreed a Brexit delay until the end of May.

But EU member states, which have to back an extension unanimously, will only do so for a reason – and the present vacuum doesn’t seem to offer them one. May also faces a fight in London and Brussels over how long any extension should be.

Election

The Prime Minister was cheered by her MPs on Monday night when she said another snap election “won’t solve anything”, but with some polls putting the Tories ten points ahead of Labour, it might. The deputy chairman of the powerful 1922 committee said an election would be unavoidable if the deal was defeated a second time.

Third vote

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker insisted there would be no more negotiation if MPs reject the deal a second time. The government’s only option to get a deal through on its terms is to bring it back for another vote – and with just two weeks to go until the scheduled Brexit day.