17:40 GMT +316 December 2019
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    A demonstrator holds EU and Union flags during an anti-Brexit protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, December 17, 2018

    UK Parliament to Vote on Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Tuesday

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    The vote will decide whether the Parliament is willing to back the controversial deal Prime Minister May had such a hard time negotiating with Brussels. The deal includes a withdrawal agreement and a declaration on future relations with the EU, according to the Evening Standard.

    The UK House of Commons will hold a vote on Prime Minister May's Brexit deal Tuesday, starting at 7 pm local time, according to Downing Street. The vote will conclude the five days of debate opened by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay on 9 January.

    The deal, which seeks to minimize the economic shock of leaving the EU, is perceived by many as betraying the spirit of the 2016 referendum, when a majority of Britons voted in favour of leaving the EU altogether. The critics of the deal and hardline supporters of Brexit say the UK should leave the EU no strings attached and deal with whatever fallout ensues.

    The vote, which has been rendered obligatory by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, was postponed by Prime Minister May in December over her fears of too little support for the deal.

    "If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow, the deal would be rejected by a significant margin", she said at the time.

    However, observers note that the level of support has barely increased since then.

    Of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons, non-voting members excluded, May needs to secure some 320 votes to get a simple majority, according to the Evening Standard. According to various estimates, she will most likely fail.

    According to The Daily Telegraph, over 100 Conservative MPs — May's own party — voiced their opposition to the deal. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and its 10 MPs have already stated they will vote the against the deal. Even the Remainers reportedly plan to vote against the deal, since they hope a failed vote will provide an opportunity for a second national referendum on Brexit that they're advocating for.

    The Labour Party also opposes the deal, with its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, intending to call in a vote of no confidence after the vote fails. According to The Telegraph, the vote may fail by such a large margin that Theresa May won't survive it.

    The biggest question you are most likely asking yourself right now is: what happens next if the vote fails?

    The government's plan is the following: should Theresa May survive the failed vote, she will most likely once again go to Brussels and attempt to negotiate new concessions for the UK that should gear up the deal for a second attempt, The Telegraph writes. However, the EU has made it clear it has had enough negotiations and will not budge. The most painful topic — the so-called Irish backstop — has been cemented and is not open to negotiation. The best the prime minister can hope for are some political statements, the newspaper reads.

    In the meantime, Labour will call for a vote of no confidence and general elections — the latter expected to be a tough feat to pull off, though, due to the quirks of the UK's electoral system, Labour will have to convince the Conservatives to join their effort and topple their own government.

    Still, even if Labour fail with the general elections, they may succeed in calling a second referendum on Brexit, the Evening Standard writes.

    Between the internal political crisis and uncooperative Brussels, the UK may eventually face a hard no-deal Brexit scenario, which continues to remain a possibility.


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