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Six scenarios now May’s Brexit deal has been rejected

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So, Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been rejected by MPs.

All manner of things could happen now. Here we take a look at the likely scenarios:



Ed Conway




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Video:
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1. May tries to get a better deal

The chatter is that the PM will head to Brussels in the morning in a bid to win more concessions from the EU.

It is not clear what else she could get to win over sceptical MPs.

The EU has been steadfast in its refusal to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, offering only “assurances” on the issue of the Irish border backstop.

Mrs May will perhaps bank on a defeat for her in the Commons changing a few minds on the continent, but it’s a high-risk strategy that risks fresh humiliation for her.








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2. The PM brings the deal back for another vote

Mrs May could of course just put the deal back to parliament and ask them to think again.

The logic of such move would be called into question, but the PM would likely hope that MPs fearful of “no-deal” would take fright as the clock ticked towards exit day on 29 March.

But if she suffers a sizable defeat in the first instance, simply asking again would almost certainly produce the same result.








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3. No deal

Britain is leaving the EU on 29 March. It doesn’t matter whether an agreement is passed before then.

If parliament does not agree a deal, the default position is that Britain leaves without one.

The PM has consistently spoken of her confidence in getting a deal passed, but she could decide to change tack and actively pursue a “no-deal” Brexit to avoid the possibility of it being stopped altogether.

But this would be fraught with danger for Mrs May.

Members of her cabinet on the Remain side of the spectrum may choose to resign in protest at such a policy, which opponents claim would cause chaos for Britain.

A majority of MPs are against a “no-deal” Brexit, but they may in the end prove powerless to stop it.








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Video:
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4. Brexit is delayed

An extension of Article 50 (the legal process that triggered the two-year window for Britain to negotiate a deal) has been gaining traction in recent weeks.

But the EU would have to agree to it – and they may only do so in the event of a major shift in British politics (like holding a second referendum or there being a general election).

Mrs May could opt for this to give her more time to get her deal through the Commons, but it may simply delay the inevitable.



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5. General election

A successful no-confidence motion automatically triggers a 14-day countdown to a general election.

If no government is formed, the nation goes to the polls.

Labour’s first preference is for there to be a general election – the aim of tabling a no confidence motion in the first place.

Mr Corbyn is confident of winning an election and has pledged to go back to Brussels and negotiate a better deal than the one currently on the table.

6. Second referendum

Supporters say this is the only way to resolve the division currently engulfing Westminster.

But the path to another vote is a long one.

Mrs May has consistently spoken out against the idea and Mr Corbyn has promised to renegotiate the PM’s deal and deliver Brexit if he wins power.

One of them would need to have a change of heart and table legislation in parliament to allow another referendum to take place.

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