If Theresa May doesn't get the result she wants can she re run the meaningful vote?
By Joe Harker
Provided she doesn't delay it again for fear of a resounding defeat you could see coming a mile off, Theresa May will hold the meaningful vote for her Brexit deal on January 15. The House of Commons will get a chance to vote on and most likely reject the prime minister's deal, the fear of which drove her to delay it until now.
In that time May has survived a vote of no confidence from within her own party and batted away another vote from leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, who has not yet decided to call a vote of no confidence in her government, which would be much harder to ignore.
She has also made several visits to Brussels in a vain attempt to renegotiate her deal into something more palpable for the House of Commons. However, EU politicians have been clear and consistent that they are not going to renegotiate the deal they agreed with her weeks ago. May's attempts to to gain the support of national leaders in Europe has also backfired, with many becoming frustrated at the prime minister's repeated attempts to do something she has been told will not happen.
Brussels said no to renegotiation, Berlin said no to renegotiation, Paris said no to renegotiation. Anyone claiming they can go back to the negotiation table with the EU and alter the deal is trying to sell the British public a fantasy, one that becomes increasingly dangerous as the exit date of March 29 approaches and the UK is head for a no deal exit by default.
There are some backing the prime minister who remain optimistic about passing her deal through the Commons. Kwasi Kwarteng, Tory MP for Spelthorne and a junior Brexit minister, said the government expects to win the support of parliament and pass May's deal despite huge opposition from the other parties and within the Conservatives.
Most others do not agree with Mr Kwarteng's prediction, and expect the prime minister to be dealt the heavy defeat she would have suffered in December had she not delayed the vote. Hoping to use the threat of a no deal Brexit to scare MPs into voting for her deal, May faces the prospect of the House of Commons taking the reins of power away from her.
The prime minister has also not refused the possibility of holding the vote multiple times until she gets the result she wants. However, she slated those calling for a second referendum as it would "divide our country" and said there wasn't time to organise one before March 29. She has run down the clock in an attempt to shut off potential avenues of escaping from her deal without heading for a no deal Brexit.
The EU might grant the UK an extension to Article 50, thus moving the departure date, in the case of a general election or second referendum. However, they would want the matter to be resolved before European elections take place between May 23 and 26.
One potential lifeline for the prime minister is the suggestion that Corbyn might direct his Labour MPs to abstain from the vote, which would most likely give May victory. However, Business Insider reports that senior Labour sources have moved to quash the rumours, saying they have "no basis in fact".
Labour's plan is to defeat the government over the meaningful vote and push for a general election, perhaps by calling for a vote of no confidence in the government. They then intend to renegotiate the Brexit deal themselves, which as previously stated is highly unlikely to happen. Their support in an election would tumble if they ran on a Brexit platform.
It appears that May's only hope is to re run the vote and bet that the Commons eventually supports her deal through fear of a no deal Brexit. It's not much of a plan.