MPs look likely to reject the changes made to the Brexit bill by the House of Lords when they debate it again later today.
- a) to guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and ensure Parliament has a vote on any deal, and
- b) Parliament to have a vote on the final Brexit deal.
The so-called EU Withdrawal Bill could complete its final stages if both Houses of Parliament can agree on the wording of the bill.
Prime Minister Theresa May could then trigger Article 50 to formally start the Brexit process on Tuesday, although this is now thought unlikely,
If MPs overturn the Lords’ amendments to the bill, it could all be “done and dusted by midnight” on Monday.
Both the House of Commons and House of Lords will debate the bill today and then cast their votes.
MPs will go first, and then it is passed to peers to decide upon the decisions made. The bill will then travel back and forth between the two houses until both sides agree.
Labour has urged Theresa May to consider keeping the “really important” Lords’ amendments, adding that EU citizens in the UK have been left with very uncertain futures having to wait to hear if they have the right to stay.
If MPs do reject the amendments, Parliament could sit through the night in an attempt to reach an agreement. Should that not be possible, time has also been set aside on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Once it has been agreed, the bill will go for Royal Assent, after which the Prime Minister can formally tell the rest of the EU that she is ready to start negotiating.
Brexit Secretary David Davis insists the UK would leave the EU at the end of the two-year negotiating process even if all parties failed to reach a deal with the other 27 nations.
Mr Davis has pleaded with MPs not to “tie the Prime Minister’s hands” over Parliament having a final vote on the exit deal and EU citizens’ rights in the UK.
Theresa May has said Parliament will get to vote on the deal, but many MPs and peers want a greater commitment to give them a more “meaningful” say. They also want to be able to have the chance of sending her back to the negotiating table in Brussels.
Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, a Remain supporter, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that seeking such an assurance was not just about blocking Brexit.
“David Davis and everybody else knows that Parliament will find a way to have a vote. Isn’t it better that the Government acknowledges that today?” she said, adding, “If the Prime Minister wants a united party behind her, this is a simple reassurance that can be given by ministers at the despatch box that will have the effect of me and my colleagues supporting the Government on this”.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told ITV’s Robert Peston on Sunday that as far as he was concerned, having a “no deal” would be “perfectly OK”. He refutes the idea that this would be a catastrophic blow to the UK economy as “some people like to pretend”.
Lord Heseltine, former government adviser, dismissed Mr Johnson’s comments as “rubbish”, saying many Conservatives felt “betrayed”.
Mrs May has often said that she would rather “take the UK out of the EU with no deal rather than a bad deal”.
Labour are telling MPs to vote against the Government’s bill, and it looks like some 10 Tory backbenchers will again defy orders from their party managers as they did in previous votes on this bill. However, a rebellion on this scale won’t be enough to defeat the Government.
In the Lords, the Liberal Democrats have promised to keep up their pressure on the government, but Labour peers seem less enthusiastic, so by tonight, the rebellion could have melted away.