Theresa May braces for defeat ahead of Commons vote on Brexit deal

Parliament is set to have its final say on Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement on Tuesday

epaselect epa07279552 British Prime Minister, Theresa May and her husband Philip attend Sunday morning prayers at her local church in Maidenhead, Britain, 13 January 2019. Members of the British Parliament are due to vote on Theresa May's  Brexit deal on 15 January 2019, with Britain set to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019.  EPA/STRINGER
Powered by automated translation

British Prime Minister Theresa May could be ousted on Wednesday if she loses a decisive vote on her proposed Brexit deal, leaving Britain in uncharted waters a few weeks from its scheduled exit from the EU.

Parliament is set to have its final say on Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement on Tuesday. Should the Prime Minister lose the vote, the opposing Labour party would have the chance to form a government and, if they failed, new elections would have to be held.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC that his party will table a motion of no confidence in the government soon after Tuesday's vote.

Mrs May is braced to lose by 150 votes in what could be the governments worst defeat in modern history.

With just 75 days to go before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, up to 105 Tory MPs are threatening to stage the largest rebellion in the party’s history and vote against the proposed deal.


Read more:

No-deal Brexit preparations underway as 4000 civil servants quit day job

Britain is a rudderless ship with no real captain

Brexit on the brink as Theresa May resists demand for plan B 


Under the rebels’ plan, MPs could be potentially allowed to put Brexit on hold or force another popular vote. The Prime Minister warned ministers that, if the deal is rejected and the UK remains in the EU, this would constitute a “catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust” in democracy.

She described the vote as the "biggest and most important decision that any MP of our generation will be asked to make."

But Mrs May on Sunday faced further opposition from her former Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab. In an article on local media, Mr Raab urged MPs to vote down Mrs May's "bad" deal and send a message to Brussels that the UK "will not be bullied".

Britain should continue to push for an agreement that "respects the referendum,” but if Brussels' persists on its path "we must be willing to leave the EU at the end of March on World Trade Organisation terms," he said.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to offer Mrs May a few more concessions before the crunch vote to help win over a few waverers, but most pundits and politicians assume she will lose the Brexit vote and foresee worse humiliations ahead.

Over 100 MEPs from 26 EU member states signed a letter calling on the UK to "reconsider" Brexit, saying the UK's departure will "weaken all of us".

To minimise disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit, up to 4,000 civil servants in five of Britain’s government have been asked to set aside their daily tasks to work on the preparations for a hard exit.