Brexit vote: Another defeat ahead for May?

Houses of Parliament in London Image copyright EPA

It won't be third time lucky, or unlucky for the prime minister when she puts part of her deal back to MPs.

But what Number 10 is asking for is Parliament to give her backing for Meaningful Vote 2.5.

Theresa May knows that the Commons is not yet ready to accept her deal in its entirety.

The resistance is too great, the work in Parliament to find an alternative to her agreement now well established, for the government to have a hope of persuading Parliament suddenly to snap in line and give her the support she has for so long failed to muster.

But the vote, on what was meant to be Brexit Day, is a request to MPs to allow her to keep going, to carry on pursuing her route, with its well-documented flaws.

There's a challenge there too, not just to her own Brexiteers but to Labour and the other opposition parties, to say "no" to a long delay to our departure from the EU, the last moment when Number 10 believes anything even approaching a timely exit can be guaranteed.

There are signs now that many Eurosceptic MPs are ready to say "yes" - not because they suddenly have realised Mrs May's deal is perfect, but because more of them officially realise that it is the clearest break from the EU they can realistically hope for.

Yet her Northern Irish allies are not persuaded. Labour, even though they have sometimes accepted that what's on the table - the divorce deal - will never be unpicked by the EU, will still, in the main, resist.

As things stand, even though some influential Brexiteers believe there is a chance it will get through, it looks like the prime minister is heading for another loss.

But for Number 10, it is another way of extending the road before it finally runs out.

And in this environment, with control slipping away, that, for Theresa May, is worth a try.

Related Topics