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What happens if Theresa May loses Brexit deal vote?
13 December 2018, 01:21 | Tara Lloyd
Britain's Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt
Michael Gove, a leading cabinet minister, has insisted that Theresa May will press ahead with the House of Commons vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday, in spite of signs the prime minister is heading for a heavy defeat. Brexit is not on the agenda - instead the EU's long-term budget, single market, migration and external relations are up for discussion - but should the vote not go Mrs May's way, she could look to secure concessions in Brussels.
May too was not comfortable with all elements of the deal, including the "backstop" arrangement to guarantee no return to a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, Hunt said. This is essential to prevent a renewal of violence in the region.
In a stinging statement Monday to the House of Commons, May reminded lawmakers that any Brexit deal would require compromise.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal keeps Britain bound too closely to the European Union, while pro-EU politicians say it erects barriers between the United Kingdom and its biggest trading partner and leaves many details of the future relationship undecided.
Easing concern about Britain crashing out of the bloc in March without a deal, the EU's top court ruled on Monday that the British government may unilaterally reverse its decision to leave.
However, that will not be legally binding and Tusk went on to warn: "We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop".
May would remain prime minister in the meantime, but without much authority as the clock ticks down to March 29, the day Britain officially is due to leave the EU.
"We have got a good shot of winning".
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, said MPs should have the opportunity to vote on the withdrawal agreement, even if it would mean the government would lose the vote.
A delay will force the weakened government to try to renegotiate its departure or face two equally unpalatable choices: a "no-deal" Brexit that could bring havoc to the economy or call a second referendum, which could undermine faith in the country's democratic institutions and lead to mass protests.
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Pressed on when the vote would be held, May simply said under existing legislation it had to be held by January 21, 2019. Days later, they approved it. "As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario", the tweet said.
However, in a suggestion that the current deal may not be permanent, the potential Tory leadership contender reached out to Brexit supporters by saying it could act as a "stepping stone to deliver on everything people voted for". "There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation", European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
"The government is in disarray", he said in the House of Commons.
May has received a raft of backlash over the deal she secured with the European Union over the last few weeks - from the opposition, public, and even inside her own party.
May has consistently ruled out the prospect of a second referendum, which has the support of a growing number of lawmakers in both main parties.
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