The Prime Minister will urge the Commons to back her Withdrawal Agreement, which covers payment of the £39 billion to the EU, the Northern Ireland backstop and citizens’ rights. But with the DUP and ERG set to vote against Mrs May today, her chances of success are slim. Defeat would see Britain leave the EU on April 12 with no deal. But last night, EU chiefs insisted Britain must reopen negotiations to stop leaving without a deal, as reported by Express.co.uk yesterday.
And the price of another defeat today for Mrs May today would be the settling of Britain’s £39billion Brexit divorce deal and the implementation of the controversial backstop to avoid a hard Irish border, according to senior EU diplomats.
If Mrs May is defeated again she could call a general election as soon as next week.
Today’s vote does not cover the political declaration on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
Last night, BBC Newsnight’s Political Editor Nick Watt quoted colourful language from one Cabinet minister who was asked why Mrs May is holding today’s vote if she is pretty sure she will lose.
The unnamed minister said: “F*** knows. I am past caring. It is like the living dead in here.”
Meanwhile, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is believed to have told ambassadors a no-deal Brexit is “the most plausible outcome”.
Mr Barnier said: “He said: “We are working and we are ready. “Yesterday, we had many nos and now we are waiting for a yes.”
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8.00am update: Duncan Smith to BACK May’s deal
Iain Duncan Smith is ready to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal and elect a new Tory leader who is a Brexiteer.
This week, Mrs May promised to resign as Prime Minister if MPs vote through her deal.
Mr Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ”I recognise, like many of my colleagues, that there are some fundamental flaws with this process.
“But, that notwithstanding, I think that what we face is a Parliament made up substantially now of people who simply just do not want Brexit to take place.
“That majority now makes it almost impossible for us to do anything other than essentially to get what we have on the table.”
He added: “I think it’s time for us to take a decision, which is we want to leave, we want to be able to say to our constituents ‘we have left, there is more that has to be done’.
“A new leader can therefore take that forward and a leader who really believes in Brexit, because the problem has been that the negotiations have been conducted under the idea that this is a damage limitation exercise.”