What happens next with Brexit after Theresa May’s humiliating defeat

THERESA May faced the darkest moment of her career after her Brexit deal suffered the worst defeat in British history.

Here are the five main possibilities for what happens next, including a second vote on the PM’s Deal, No Deal, a second referendum, a Customs Union Deal with Labour or the EEA option.

2ND MPS’ VOTE

THE likeliest option if, as expected, Theresa May wins the no-confidence vote tabled by Labour.

Most Tory MPs opposed to her deal want her to get back to Brussels to win more concessions — despite the EU’s refusal to re-open talks.

One No10 source previously said the vote would be put back to MPs 30 times until they voted it through.

Bookies have much higher odds of the PM getting her vote through on the second ask.

This was fuelled by Scottish Secretary David Mundell saying MPs might reflect again on their “mistake” if they get a second chance to vote on the Deal.

Mrs May said she would start cross-party talks with MPs after the confidence vote.

She said she would stay on and try to find “genuinely negotiable” solutions which she can take to Brussels.

The PM has until January 21 to set out a Plan B, with the clock ticking on the scheduled date of Brexit in just 73 days’ time on March 29.

European negotiator Michel Barnier said it was “time for the UK to tell us the next steps”.

EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has declared “time is almost up”.

Theresa May faces the darkest moment of her career after 432 MPs voted to kill off her withdrawal agreement
PRU

REFERENDUM

JEREMY Corbyn was urged to back a People’s Vote by the end of week — as furious MPs demanded he “get off the fence”.

Sources claimed up to 100 of his MPs would today “pivot” to back a second referendum — and urged the Labour leader to back them.

Labour Remainer Chuka Umunna told The Sun Mr Corbyn had to stand by the party’s agreed policy and support a second referendum “by the end of the week”.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer had earlier broken ranks and admitted a People’s Vote “had to be discussed”.

Labour has so far committed only to consider a People’s Vote as an “option” if the party cannot secure a General Election through a no- confidence vote.

The move came as Ian Blackford, head of the SNP at Westminster, tore into Mr Corbyn’s dithering over whether to back a new poll.

Speaking in the Brexit debate he told MPs: “I’m appealing to the Labour party — for goodness sake, get off the fence.”

More than 50 MPs have publicly backed another Brexit vote, including former Tory ministers Justine Greening and Jo Johnson.

Tory MP Dominic Grieve also supports a re-run of the referendum.

NO DEAL

THE legal default position is that Britain is leaving the European Union on March 29 with No Deal if one is not agreed.

Many Brexiteers — and Brexit voters — believe a “managed” No Deal is the best option for the UK because it would involve no £39billion bill and the chance to strike global free trade deals.

But those close to the PM believe she would never willingly commit to No Deal.

There is also no majority in Parliament for it.

MPs insist they will take any measure necessary to prevent it with some Tories saying they will resign the whip to vote against the Government.

Last week anti-No Deal MPs voted in favour of a motion blocking the Government from spending money to prepare for No Deal if it happened.

More votes of this nature are certain to take place over the coming weeks.

CUSTOMS UNION

EUROPHILE Tory MPs have urged Theresa May to try and build bridges with Labour MPs.

They were most recently joined by her Cabinet Remainers Amber Rudd, David Gauke, David Lidington and Greg Clark.

The PM even put in calls to union bigwigs last week to try and get support for her deal.

But the danger lies in the fact there are more Tory critics of her deal than Labour backers.

Membership of the Customs Union permanently is official Labour policy.

But even if the PM did offer this — as not just an olive branch but almost an entire tree — it would infuriate Tories.

And it’s not remotely certain that Jeremy Corbyn’s party would back the deal because their so-called six tests were always designed to be failed — and ultimately what the

Labour leader wants is a General Election.

Time is almost up

Jean-Claude Juncker, EU President

EEA

TORY ex-ministers Nick Boles and Nicky Morgan and Labour’s Stephen Kinnock lead the “Norway Plus” movement saying Britain should consider joining the European Economic Area.

It would mean being outside the Common Agriculture Policy as well as Fisheries, Justice and Home Affairs.

But it would see the UK staying in the EU’s single market — one of Theresa May’s red lines.

Big business would welcome it but Brexit voters would be unhappy as it would mean Britain accepting open borders and Free Movement of people and following European rules without any say.

Supporters see a chance of an “emergency brake” on movement of people and some consultation on any new Single Market rules.

One possible mechanism for the plan is a bill tabled by Boles/Morgan handing control of Brexit to the Commons “Liaison Committee” of senior backbenchers.

Jeremy Corbyn wants to trigger a General Election
Reuters
Theresa May looks on as MPs announce that she had lost a vote on her Brexit plan
Press Association Images

 

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