Brexit: A critical week ahead in the House of Commons

3 weeks ago
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After Theresa May secured a delay to Brexit and MPs took control of the EU divorce process, another crucial week looms in the Commons.

Sky News unpicks how the week will unfold.

:: Tuesday 26 March

All eyes will be on House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom just after 1pm.

She will announce parliament’s amended timetable, in light of the vote on Monday to give MPs control of the order paper to hold indicative votes on different Brexit outcomes.

There are no major votes due, but the backbench Brexiteer lobby known as the European Research Group is meeting in the evening to discuss its strategy.

Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street
Image: Theresa May could try to bring back her deal for a third time

:: Wednesday 27 March

Following the success of the Letwin-Grieve-Benn amendment, this will mark the day when indicative votes are held.

The options given to MPs are likely include a second EU referendum, a Norway-style relationship, permanent membership of the customs union, or even cancelling Brexit completely.

Mrs May will also address Tory MPs in a forum known as the “1922 committee” at 5pm, in private.

:: Thursday 28 March

The prime minister could then put her Brexit deal back before the Commons on Thursday.

She might hope a successful bid by MPs to hold indicative votes and subsequently push the government into a different “softer” Brexit – or even a majority call for a second referendum – will prompt Tory Brexiteers to reverse their opposition and back her agreement.

There are signs that is already the thinking among figures such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has suggested he will back the deal, saying the choice “seems to be Mrs May’s deal or no Brexit”.

Her deal has already been heavily defeated twice – so the government have said they will only pursue a third vote if they look likely to win.

Commons’ Speaker John Bercow has also provided another stumbling block to a third vote, after he ruled the prime minister’s proposal must be “substantially” different before it can be put before MPs again.

If the deal fails to pass then Thursday could see the government forced into seeking another extension to the Article 50 negotiating period.

Theresa May addressing MPs after they rejected her withdrawal agreement
Image: MPs will get a chance to vote on alternative EU divorce plans

:: Friday 29 March

This marks the day the UK was originally meant to leave the EU.

Mrs May asked the EU to push it back after failing to get her deal ratified by parliament it voting to reject no-deal.

If she does get her withdrawal agreement approved by MPs, Brexit will be delayed until 22 May in order to give the UK the time to put in place necessary legislation before its departure from the EU.

If the prime minister has still failed to get her Brexit deal passed, the EU has only delayed Brexit until 12 April, by which point the UK must “indicate a way forward”.

Retro alarm EU clock representing the countdown until Brexit. - Stock image
Image: The UK and EU have agreed to delay Brexit back from 29 March

And beyond that…

:: 12 April

This could be the new date of a no-deal Brexit, if the prime minister fails to get her withdrawal agreement passed and the government doesn’t seek a further delay.

:: 2 May

The date of local elections across England and Northern Ireland.

It has been speculated, if a general election is called, it could also be held on this date to coincide with the council ballots.

:: 22 May

The new date of Brexit, if the prime minister does finally get her withdrawal agreement through the House of Commons.

:: 23 May

The beginning of elections to European Parliament elections across the EU.

If the UK chases a further, longer extension to the Article 50 negotiating period, then it must once again elect MEPs to the Brussels and Strasbourg legislature.

:: 31 December 2020

The end of the proposed Brexit transition period, at which point it is hoped the UK will move into a yet-to-be-negotiated new trading relationship with the EU.

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