Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal has not won many supporters since it was announced in November, despite getting backing from the European Union. The vote could even be one of the largest defeats in Commons history. But Mrs May has made it clear she won’t back away from Brexit in response and has told the Cabinet the Government is “the servant of the people” and must deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum in which voters opted to Leave.
MPs will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement this evening, with result expected at around 8.30pm.
Mrs May has insisted she is focused on winning the vote and even told Conservative rebels on Monday evening that they risked “handing the keys of No 10 to Mr Corbyn”.
But the Daily Telegraph quoted one Cabinet source as saying it would be “hard for her to carry on” if she lost by more than 100 votes.
The deal suffered its first official parliamentary defeat in the House of Lords on Monday night as peers voted by 321 votes to 152 – a majority of 169 – to reject it.
It is not yet known what Mrs May will do next if she is defeated.
After an amendment was passed last week, she has to table a motion on her Plan B by Monday.
This could mean flying to Brussels as soon as possible to try and get a different agreement on the backstop.
But EU leaders may not even contemplate any changes if they think the deal will never get through Parliament anyway.
Mrs May could also stand her ground and bring the deal back to the House for a second or even third time, with the hope that she win eventually win everyone round.
Will there be a snap election?
Speaker John Bercow has allowed debate on an amendment tabled by Mr Corbyn to forget about Mrs May’s plan and “pursue every option” to stop the UK leaving the EU with no deal.
A no-confidence vote could come as early as Wednesday if Mr Corbyn tables a motion immediately after the “meaningful vote”.
If the government loses a potential vote of no confidence, there a few alternative options under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.
If the government fails to win a confidence vote within 14 days, a general election could be called.
But it is unlikely that Labour will get enough votes to force a general election, as Tory rebels and the DUP will most likely back the Government in a confidence vote.
Theresa May doesn’t have power to call an election herself, but she could ask MPs to vote for an early election under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
This would need to be supported by two-thirds of all MPs.
The earliest an election could be held is is 25 working days later, but the prime minister would have the final say on the exact date.