The Brexit deal, amendments, free votes, Tories ignoring the whip, more votes coming and a Prime Minister with a very sore throat – if you’ve been left a little confused over what happened in British politics last week, you’re not alone. Read on for a break down of everything that happened, and where we stand now.
What went on in Parliament last week?
Much voting and plenty of unexpected results, but we can break down the outcome of what happened last week in three vote results:
1: On Tuesday, MPs voted to reject the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan for the second time.
2: On Wednesday, MPs voted to rule out a no deal Brexit at any time.
3: On Thursday, MPs voted for Theresa May to ask the EU for a delay to Brexit.
READ MORE: How did your MP vote on the Brexit deal?
While these are all quite significant, it’s important to remember that they aren’t legally binding – so, this doesn’t mean that there’s a guarantee of no deal never happening.
But they do show the Prime Minister and her government the direction MPs want the process to take, and, as a democracy, they cannot be ignored.
So what next?
The only thing currently written into law about all of this is that Article 50 – that’s the part of the Lisbon Treaty which set out the two-year process for a country to leave the EU – is going to expire at 11pm on March 29, unless an extension is agreed by all 27 EU member states.
What will happen next depends, yet again, on a vote in Parliament on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
READ MORE: What is the Brexit backstop? A really simple explanation
Mrs May is still adamant the deal she negotiated is the best one for the country, and plans to try for a third time to get it through Parliament.
This vote is due to take place on Wednesday, March 20.
What happens next really depends on the outcome of that vote:
If it’s a YES this time, Mrs May will ask the EU for a short extension, just until June 30, to ratify the deal.
But if its a NO again, she is likely to request a much longer delay to Brexit, and then there are a whole host of other possibilities, including renegotiating, a general election or a second referendum.
Could we still have no deal?
Yes, no deal remains the default position, despite MPs vote on Wednesday.
And if nothing changes between now and March 29, that is exactly what will happen.
There is the real possibility the EU won’t agree to a delay to Brexit if the deal is voted down again.
On Thursday night, as MPs voted for an extension, the BBC’s Europe editor described the silence from the EU as “deafening”.