As widely predicted, the UK government was soundly defeated last night in a vote over the withdrawal agreement in Parliament.  MPs rejected the deal to the tune of 432 against & 202 in favour.  The withdrawal deal in it’s current form appears to be dead.

What happens next?

Some politics: Theresa May now faces a vote of no-confidence in her government, put forward by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.  This will be debated today followed by a vote in the evening.  If the government loses there would likely be a general election.

But all signs are that the motion will be defeated and May will survive.  Whilst many of her own MPs voted against the withdrawal agreement, they are not prepared to side with the opposition in bringing down their own government.  Likewise the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), also not happy with the withdrawal agreement, seems likely to support the government.

As for Brexit, Mrs May is now expected to present alternative plans and has agreed to do so on Monday.  The tone of her speech following the defeat yesterday suggested a more inclusive approach where MPs across all parties will be consulted for ideas.

It is difficult to see how any deal can be found that will win support of a majority of MPs.  Many voted against it in an effort to stop Brexit entirely, others because for them it didn’t go far enough.  Both sides are claiming victory this morning.  Constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor gave his opinion to Sky News last night that a no-deal Brexit is now the most likely outcome:

There are about 40 odd sitting days left till March 29. If no other statute is passed, we leave without a deal. I take the view … that the vote tonight makes a no-deal departure more likely than a second referendum.

With a ‘hard’ Brexit now seeming more likely than ever, it is vital that we continue to make preparations.  At UKCS we are doing so.  If you need help or advice, please contact us to see how we can assist.

External links

Guardian report