The big Brexit parliament vote: What you need to know

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a parliamentary showdown on Tuesday over her Brexit deal.

The proposal, which she has agreed with European leaders, has little support across the political spectrum and is expected to be rejected by the lower chamber House of Commons in a so-called meaningful vote.

Here is what you need to know:

What is the vote on?

Parliament will be voting on whether to approve the European Union withdrawal agreement and a declaration on future relations settled on by May and European leaders following months of back-and-forth negotiations.

The withdrawal plan includes provisions on citizens’ rights, the transition period and the so-called backstop arrangement concerning the Irish border, among other issues.

The declaration on a framework for future relations, meanwhile, sets out how the UK and EU will work together after Brexit on areas as trade and security.

When will the vote take place?

The vote is scheduled to take place at around 19:00 GMT. A result will be announced shortly afterwards.

Brexit jargon: From backstop to no deal, 17 key terms explained

How will the vote work?

It is a simple majority vote.

All 650 members of parliament (MPs) in the Commons are eligible to vote, with a majority required for approval.

Around 320 votes are needed to guarantee a majority as there are a handful of non-voting members of the house such as the speaker and others who don’t take up their seats.

Abstentions or absent MPs could mean the figure required for a majority is lower, however.

The unelected upper chamber House of Lords will not vote on the government’s proposed deal.

Why is it unlikely to pass?

Opposition to the deal is fierce. There are two central arguments against it.

The first is that the draft agreement is a watered down, inadequate version of the country’s existing EU membership arrangement.

The second is that the deal fails to deliver on a clean break with the European project.

Scores of May’s ruling Conservative Party MPs are expected to reject her proposal, while several opposition parties including the main opposition Labour Party have also said they will refuse to back it.

If May manages to win, what happens next?

The government will introduce an EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill to parliament for consideration and ratification, most likely in early 2019.

The bill will be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny, involving several rounds of possible amending and voting.

If passed, the European Parliament and European Council will then each be required to sign off on the withdrawal plan prior to March 29 next year, when the UK is scheduled to depart the EU.

This will be followed by a so-called transition period and negotiations over a possible future trade deal between the two. EU law prevents such talks from taking place while the UK is still a member state.

And if she loses?

It’s unclear.

Legally, the government will have 21 days to bring forward a new plan of action to parliament. That could provide May with a window of opportunity to go back to Brussels and push for revised terms of departure from the bloc.

But even if she wins concessions from European leaders, which is not guaranteed, MPs will be able to table amendments on a fresh proposal, potentially forcing the government to alter its Brexit strategy once again.

Alternatively, May might push for a second parliamentary vote on the same withdrawal agreement in the hope the electoral arithmetic is changed by fears that a second rejection would risk a potentially catastrophic no-deal Brexit.

Political events triggered by a parliamentary rejection on Tuesday could derail that entire process and take events out of the prime minister’s hand, however.

A leadership challenge, general election, second referendum, substantially renegotiated deal or no-deal Brexit are all possible outcomes. — Al Jazeera

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

External source

The recovered remain cautious

People who have survived Covid-19 are not going through life carefree. They are still taking all the preventative measures

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

Old Mutual announces digital AGM

An ambitious plan to create Africa’s biggest digital classroom is intended to address one of the continent’s biggest challenges — access to education

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday