UK Politics

What time is the vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal?

Houses of Parliament

After five days of debate on Theresa May's Brexit agreement, MPs will finally vote on the deal later.

What time will the vote happen?

The final day of debate will end with a speech from the prime minister at about 18:20 GMT.

But before the vote on the Brexit agreement happens, MPs will get a chance to reshape, or reject, the deal by voting on a series of amendments to it, from about 19:00 GMT.

This will start with votes on three or four backbench amendments that could reshape the deal. Each amendment will take about 15 minutes.

The vote on the withdrawal agreement itself is unlikely to happen before 20:00 and is expected to be followed by a statement from Mrs May.

How can I watch the debate and the vote?

There will be live updates on the BBC News website and it will be broadcast on the BBC News channel or watch BBC Parliament live on BBC iPlayer.

What are the amendments?

Amendments give MPs the chance to reshape, or reject, the deal.

Commons Speaker John Bercow has selected four amendments to be put to the vote:

Labour frontbench amendment

  • Rejects the deal because it fails to provide a permanent customs union and "strong single market deal", as set out in Labour's "six tests"
  • Rejects leaving with no deal
  • Resolves to "pursue every option" that prevents either no-deal or leaving on the basis of the current deal

SNP and Plaid Cymru amendment

  • Declines to approve Theresa May's Brexit deal "in line with the views of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly that they would be damaging for Scotland, Wales and the nations and regions of the UK as a whole"
  • Calls for the UK's departure from the EU to be delayed until another withdrawal deal is agreed.

Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh's amendment

  • Makes clear the Northern Ireland backstop is temporary and should remain temporary
  • Calls for assurance that, if the backstop doesn't end by the close of 2021, this will be treated as a fundamental change of circumstances and would terminate the Withdrawal Treaty on 1 January 2022
  • Backed by 15 other Tory Brexiteers.

Conservative MP John Baron's amendment

  • Gives the UK the right to terminate the Northern Ireland backstop without the agreement of the EU
  • Amendment backed by cross-party group of Brexiteers, including 12 Conservatives, one independent and one DUP MP.

John Bercow told MPs that if they back Sir Edward Leigh's amendment, John Baron's amendment will not be voted on.

There is a question mark over how far the government's withdrawal agreement could be modified by MPs before it no longer has force under international law, or the EU judges it to be in breach of what was agreed by Mrs May.

The government had indicated it would back an amendment proposed by Conservative MP Hugo Swire, which accepted the government's deal as the EU Withdrawal Bill but included provisions to:

  • Make the government report to Parliament in March 2020 on the status of the arrangements to supersede the Northern Ireland backstop. This is the controversial "insurance policy" aimed at preventing the return of a physical border in Northern Ireland if the UK and EU have not agreed on a new trade deal by December 2020
  • Give Parliament a vote on whether to extend the 21-month post-Brexit transition period, which would end in December 2020
  • Give Parliament a vote on whether to implement the backstop
  • Impose "a duty" on the government to agree a future relationship with the EU, or alternative arrangements, within one year of the backstop coming into force.

But Speaker Bercow has not selected this amendment to be put to the vote, although MPs will be able to refer to it during the debate.

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