The Speaker
Thursday, 18 April 2024 – 21:52

UK Politics: Where Next? – Here’s What Could Happen This Week

Another week of uncertainty is about to begin in the UK as MPs prepare for what will be a historic vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday. It seems highly unlikely that Mrs May’s deal will pass, with many calling it an even worse scenario that staying in the EU itself. Sky News is estimating that nearly 100 Conservative Party MPs are preparing to vote against the deal, which could result in a heavy defeat for the Prime Minister.

This week, the Government lost 3 votes in one day in the House of Commons, including one which saw them held in Contempt of Parliament for the first time in history due to their failure to publish the full legal advice on the Brexit deal.

The Labour Party has said that Jeremy Corbyn could be the Prime Minister in a minority government as early as Wednesday morning if Theresa May loses her Brexit deal vote. 

It is not for certain what will happen in the event of the Prime Minister losing the vote on her Brexit deal. It could be expected that Theresa May would resign, however judging by her resilience in recent times, this looks unlikely. There have though been suggestions by Dominic Grieve that the Conservative party could split – he told Sky News, “There is a risk that the party will split and cannot continue in its current form”.

The Government is currently being propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), but they are expected to not support the deal, with them expressing concerns along with other parties over the Northern Ireland backstop issue. If the DUP pulls its support from Mrs May’s administration, the government could collapse.

In the event of the deal not passing, rebel Conservatives may attempt to launch a leadership contest, or opposition parties may attempt to launch a vote of no confidence in the Government. The Government may head back to the EU to attempt further negotiations, or it may try to push a vote for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit through Parliament, which would also likely be rejected. While Mrs May has repeatedly rejected the idea of a People’s Vote, this may become an option the Prime Minister turns to later this week.

Even if the deal passes, the Government still looks set to hit further turbulence, with the DUP likely to act against the Government to attempt to stop the deal from actually taking place. 

This weekend has seen protests against Brexit in London, as well as a “Brexit betrayal” march featuring Tommy Robinson and other countermarches.

It’s almost impossible to predict what state the Government and Parliament will be in on Wednesday, let alone at the end of the week. “A week is a long time in politics” and this week pretty much anything could happen.

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