How the Vote on May’s Brexit Deal Will Unfold

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The House of Commons debate on Theresa May’s Brexit deal starts on Tuesday, with five days of consideration. Voting is on Dec. 11.

  • The opening of the debate was delayed by a hearing on whether ministers were in contempt of Parliament over the release of legal advice.
  • The debate will start with a so-called business motion, which confirms the program of the debate.
  • That became controversial on Tuesday, when Dominic Grieve, a pro-EU Conservative rebel, proposed an amendment to it that will give Parliament greater power over what happens next if May loses the main vote on Dec. 11.
  • After that specific motion and amendment have been debated and voted on, May will kick off the main debate with a speech this evening. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will respond.
  • The debate itself will continue for eight hours on Dec. 5, 6, 10 and 11. Each day’s debate will be led by a different cabinet minister.
  • The motion simply states that “this House approves” of the withdrawal agreement and framework for the future relationship negotiated with the EU.
  • No more than six amendments will be selected by Commons Speaker John Bercow on the last day of debate.
  • Voting will be held on Dec. 11, starting at 7:00 p.m. Amendments will be voted on before the main motion, and each vote will take about 15 minutes, with the result announced before the next vote is taken.
  • The final vote will be on the motion as amended by the previous votes. If there are six amendments it should be held at around 8:30 p.m.
  • The government has repeatedly refused to say what it would do if it loses the vote. The options include putting it to Parliament again, pursuing a no-deal exit instead, a general election, and even a second referendum. The Labour Party says it will seek a vote of no-confidence in the government. May’s Tory colleagues could also seek to oust her as leader.
How the Vote on May’s Brexit Deal Will Unfold

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