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MPs to vote on type of Brexit they want as pressure mounts on May to resign

Even if the House of Commons decides a majority course of action, it won’t be legally binding.

British Prime Minister Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May
Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

A SERIES OF indiviactive votes about Brexit is set to be held in the House of Commons today as pressure mounts on British Prime Minister Theresa May to resign. 

On Monday, a majority of MPs (329 to 302) voted to seize control of parliamentary business and vote on their preferences for how to break the Brexit deadlock.

MPs will today have the chance to vote on various options such as revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit, holding another referendum, a deal including a customs union and single market membership or leaving the European Union without a deal.

The Brexit ministry said it was “disappointed” by Monday’s vote, adding that it “upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent”.

Even if MPs decide a majority course of action today, it won’t be legally binding and could be ignored by the government.

“The government will continue to call for realism — any options considered must be deliverable in negotiations with the EU,” the Brexit ministry said.

May herself said she is “sceptical” about the process and that similar efforts in the past “produced contradictory outcomes or no outcomes at all”.

Debate about the votes could begin straight after prime minister’s questions at around 12.45pm.

If any other business needs to be discussed at this time, Speaker of the House John Bercow is under instruction to interrupt this at 2pm and hand control over to parliament, as outlined by The Guardian.

After a debate on the various proposals, MPs are expected to start voting at 7pm and the results are due to be announced between 8.30pm and 10pm.

Calls for resignation 

As May continutes her attempts to get MPs to back her Brexit deal, backbench Tory MPs are expected to call on her to resign at a meeting of the 1922 Committee this evening.

Nigel Evans, joint executive secretary of the 1922 Committee, told Sky News: “If the prime minister announces a timetable of departure, I think that’s going to swing a lot of people behind her deal, we could get it over the line.”

Earlier this week May admitted that she didn’t have enough support to get the Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons on her third attempt.

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson yesterday advocated for a no-deal Brexit, while fellow Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would back May’s deal if the DUP gets behind it. 

Speaking on the Conservative Home podcast, Rees-Mogg said May’s deal is “better than not leaving at all”.

On Monday, the House of Commons is set to debate an online petition that calls for the Brexit process to be reversed. It has gathered over 5.8 million signatures to date.

No deal 

The European Council last week agreed to delay Brexit until 22 May if MPs back May’s deal this week.

If the UK parliament doesn’t vote in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement, the new deadline would be 12 April and Britain will be expected to indicate a way forward before that date.

The UK would then face the choice of participating in the European Parliament elections at the end of May or exiting the European Union without a deal.

Britain was due to officially leave the EU this Friday, 29 March. 

The European Commission on Monday said it has completed preparations for a no-deal Brexit, noting “it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April”.

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Órla Ryan

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