The meaningful vote will be held on Tuesday, December 11, Theresa May has confirmed. In her third statement to the Commons on leaving the EU, she said: “I’m looking ahead to December 11th, when this House will be faced with a decision as to whether or not it wishes to deliver on the vote of the British people with a deal that not only delivers on that vote but also protects their jobs.” The meaningful vote is when Parliament will vote on the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement so they get a final say on the Brexit deal.
The government is unable to ratify the deal until Parliament has approved it.
Last December, the House of Commons amended the EU Withdrawal Bill to say any secondary legislation to implement the withdrawal agreement could not be brought into force until Parliament had passed a statue approving the deal.
The meaningful vote will follow five days of debate.
The deal was endorsed by EU leaders in Brussels on Sunday, however the deal has been met with a great deal of hostility from Eurosceptic Tories, remainers and the Democratic Unionist Party.
The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement involves the UK paying a £39 billion divorce bill.
Mrs May told the Commons: “I believe our national interest is clear.
“The British people want us to get on with a deal that honours the referendum and allows us to come together again as a country, whichever way we voted.
“This is that deal. A deal that delivers for the British people.”
But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Commons would have “very little choice” but to reject Mrs May’s “botched” deal, which he described as “bad for this country” which “Labour will oppose in Parliament.”
If parliament votes down Theresa May’s deal, the UK will still leave the EU at 11pm on March 29, 2019.
With 90 ore more Conservative MPs indicating they could rebel in the “meaningful vote”, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay admitted Mrs May faces a “challenging” division.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker warned that there would be no more negotiation if MPs vote down the agreement, telling the BBC: “This is the best deal for Britain … and this is the only deal possible, so if the House says no, we would have no deal.”
Addressing the Commons the day after returning from Brussels, Mrs May said: “I can say to the House with absolute certainty that there is not a better deal available.
“Our duty as a Parliament over these coming weeks is to examine this deal in detail, to debate it respectfully, to listen to our constituents and decide what is in our national interest.”
Mrs May said MPs faced a choice: “We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people. Or this House can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one.
“Because no-one knows what would happen if this deal doesn’t pass. It would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail.”