It’s said history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce.
And there was something tragic about Theresa May trying three times to pass her Brexit deal through the House of Commons and failing at every attempt.
But now the withdrawal agreement she agreed with the EU back in November 2018 is back on the agenda thanks to an apparent mistake in parliament. There’s the farce.
An amendment to the bill attempting to stop a no deal Brexit appeared to pass by accident, meaning May’s deal will be debated and voted on a fourth time.
The amendment was proposed by Labour MP Stephen Kinnock and was approved automatically when the government didn’t provide any tellers to count the “no” votes.
If the bill makes it through the House of Lords with the amendment still attached the Commons will be legally required to have a fourth vote on the withdrawal agreement.
It could create the odd situation where Theresa May, now a backbench Tory MP, votes against her own Brexit deal in order to stick to the party line. If she votes against the government she might have the whip removed and be deselected from the party.
After being defeated three times, with the first defeat being the largest a sitting government has ever suffered, there would seem to be little chance of May’s deal passing in the most unlikely way.
The deal was practically dead on arrival, with a vote in December 2018 postponed for a month as the government realised they would lose. It’s a zombie deal likely to be put back in the grave as quickly as it shambled out.
The Counter Claim
However, rebellious MP Rory Stewart, formerly of the Conservative party, said he believes May’s deal would actually pass through the Commons now.
During the Tory leadership contest in which Stewart became something of a dark horse he said he would try and pass the withdrawal agreement already on the table, now he believes his fellow MPs will agree after having “stared down the barrel of the gun”.
The MP for Penrith and The Border said negotiating a new deal was unlikely, saying the government shouldn’t pretend it was going to secure a new deal with the EU. If there’s going to be a Brexit deal it’s going to be the one on the table.
He thinks May’s deal could come back on the agenda at just the right moment, being the compromise option that would get the UK away from a no deal Brexit.
Stewart did admit his support for the withdrawal agreement was akin to “flogging a dead horse” but suggested in the face of a no deal Brexit MPs would select it as they were warming up to a compromise.
May’s deal continues to be hugely unpopular with the public, who never really took to it in the first place.
A new YouGov poll reports that only 20 per cent of the public think bringing May’s deal back is a realistic option, while only two per cent have it as their preferred outcome to Brexit.
Quite how the deal managed to shamble out of the grave is a matter of some contention. Initially described as an accident as nobody ended up volunteering to count the votes, it was soon revealed that the government deliberately didn’t provide tellers so the amendment would pass through by default.
Perspecs – a news app like no other
Perspecs is a free app that curates the top news stories from a variety of established regional, national and international news sources. Unlike traditional aggregators and news curation services, Perspecs goes a step further and offers readers 3 polarised opinions of the same story.
How these opinions are categorised can vary. For political stories this could be in the form of ‘left’, ‘background’, ‘right’. For review items the categories could be ‘negative’, ‘neutral’, ‘positive’.
Readers often stick to their regular sources of news therefore often only ever seeing one side of a story. Perspecs will give you the opportunity to see things from a different perspective and allow you to form your own informed opinion.
Perspecs will publish 1 edition per day and each edition will be packed with a variety of interesting and sometimes controversial topics. Most importantly, there will be 3 sides to every story.
The Daily Mirror reports the government wanted to add more “bureaucratic faff” to the bill, meaning it would take longer to go through the House of Lords and ultimately pass.
The deal itself is slightly different from the one rejected three times by parliament. There are a few extra additions and protections of workers rights in an attempt to entice Labour MPs into supporting it, though May left (or was forced out, depending how you look at it) before she could try and bring it to the House of Commons.
It would be the most unlikely of outcomes for Theresa May’s deal to pass at the eleventh hour, months after it was last voted on and confirmed to be dead and buried.
- Theresa May's Brexit deal is dead as John Bercow rules out another vote
- Brexit vote date on Theresa May's deal confirmed as MPs from all sides condemn it
- Brexit latest news: EU prepared to offer Theresa May Brexit deal lifeline by extending Article 50
- How has Theresa May's Brexit deal come back from the dead?
- EU says Theresa May's Brexit deal is 'dead' as it urges her to adopt Canada-style deal favoured by Boris Johnson
- Everyone at the Tory conference knows that Theresa May's Brexit plan has failed'
- Theresa May finally revealed the truth about Brexit: it's been a lie all along
- May's Brexit deal is 'dead'
- MPs to vote on no-deal after Theresa May's Brexit deal suffers second defeat in Parliament