MPs to vote on withdrawal agreement motion tomorrow…with a twist

The House of Commons will vote on a new motion on the Brexit withdrawal agreement tomorrow (Friday, March 29), the leader of the house – Andrea Leadsom – confirmed this evening.

However, the motion tomorrow will not cover the ‘political declaration’ – a document that defines the future relationship between the EU and Britain after Brexit.

On the two attempts that the Government has attempted to pass the deal, it included the political declaration; if the motion is passed tomorrow, it is understood that the Government will then attempt to pass the actual withdrawal agreement bill, but without the political declaration.

The motion to be debated tomorrow circumvents the recent ruling by the speaker, John Bercow, that the withdrawal agreement couldn’t be voted on for a third time unless it was “substantially different”; Bercow today confirmed that the motion minus the political declaration could be debated and voted on.

Tomorrow was the original date for Bexit to take effect; that has been pushed back following an extension that was agreed with the EU.

An extension was granted to May 22 on the proviso that parliament passes the withdrawal agreement by tomorrow; the motion that will be voted on may be enough to take advantage of this extension, if it is passed.

The terms of the extension also state that if no agreement is passed by tomorrow, the UK would have until April 12 to give an indication as to how it wants to proceed.

May’s resignation offer

Yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May said that she would resign if the agreement was passed, in a bid to win support for the deal among her more rebellious party members.

That move seems to have worked to a certain degree; a number of conservative MPs who were previously opposed to the deal have signalled that they may be willing to now support it.

However, it is still not clear if the agreement has sufficient support to be passed. Furthermore, it is unclear if May’s coalition partners, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), will support the deal, having not done so previously.

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