Here Are The Ways Theresa May's Brexit Vote Might Not Happen

(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s Parliament is due to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on the evening of Dec. 11. But with little chance of her winning, there’s speculation she could pull the vote. It’s also possible that an amendment proposed by one of her fiercest critics ends up sparing her from a career-ending defeat.

Here’s how she could avoid a vote:

  • At the start of proceedings on Monday or Tuesday, the government declines to move the motion. Once the motion on the Brexit deal has been presented on Tuesday, the government would need a majority in the chamber -- which it probably wouldn’t have -- to cancel the vote.
  • The debate is scheduled to finish at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. According to Chris Bryant, a Labour lawmaker and parliamentary history expert, one option for the government would be for the minister closing the debate to simply keep talking through the deadline. “In theory,” said Bryant, “there couldn’t then be a vote. But the Speaker would be very likely to rule that this was an abuse of process.”
  • Before the vote on the government’s motion, there’ll be votes on up to six amendments, selected by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. We won’t know which ones will be voted on until Tuesday, but one that stands a good chance of being selected is a wrecking amendment drafted by Labour lawmaker Hilary Benn and signed by Labour and Conservative members. It calls for May’s deal to be ripped up, and for the government to rule out a no-deal Brexit. If it passes -- which it just might -- then there would be no point in the government continuing to push its motion as it would have lost its original purpose. Proceedings might then come to an abrupt halt, according to Bryant.
  • That outcome might appeal to May. If Benn’s motion does pass, it’s likely to be only with the support of the soft Brexit wing of May’s Conservative Party. Dropping the motion at that point would have the advantage for the prime minister that she would have avoided a much larger rebellion from the hard Brexit wing.
    How the Vote on May’s Brexit Deal is Set to Unfold: A Traders’ Guide

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.