Meaningful Vote 3: When Is It And Will May's Deal Finally Pass?
18 March 2019, 21:00 | Updated: 18 March 2019, 21:31
When MPs vote to extend Article 50, Theresa May launched her bid for a third vote on her Brexit deal - but the Speaker of the House said it can not be voted on again without substantial changes. When will the vote be, and how can she find enough support for it to pass?
Theresa May's Brexit deal was first rejected by MPs in January's 'meaningful vote' in the biggest government defeat since 1924, before being rejected a second time in March.
But when MPs voted in favour of extending Article 50, Theresa May launched a bid to hold a third meaningful vote on her deal - saying that she would ask the EU for a short extension if her deal is passed, or face a longer extension if rejected.
And in response to criticisms and concerns from MPs across 'all sides of the Brexit debate' about Mrs May presenting the same question for the third time, the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said that the vote would be in breach of parliamentary rules unless it had substantial change.
When Will Meaningful Vote 3 Be?
Provided Theresa May can find 'substantial changes' to the vote, a third 'meaningful vote' on her deal could take place before the end of March.
A date and time for the third vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal has not yet been announced, but as LBC's political editor Theo Usherwood explains, it will only happen when she knows she has enough support for it to pass.
"They're not going to present a third vote and go round again if they do not have the DUP and majority of the ERG on side and know that there's a very realistic chance of getting their deal through the House of Commons," he said.
But given that EU leaders are due to meet on Thursday to discuss Brexit at the Spring European Council, Theresa May has until Wednesday night to hold the vote.
"The DUP will make a decision over the next couple of days whether to support the government, and if they do, then the government will put that to a vote on Wednesday night," Theo said.
How Could The DUP Swing The Vote?
There are a group of Conservative MPs who feel they can not back Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement if the DUP don't.
Therefore, as Theo explains, "if Theresa May can get Nigel Dodds on board, he will bring with him 50 to 60 Tory MPs".
"No deal is better than a bad deal, but a a bad deal is better than remaining in the European Union," he said.
What Can Theresa May Do To Get Votes From DUP?
The DUP have been concerned that the backstop in Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement would put a barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
But whilst the Prime Minister has already sought assurances from the European Union around the backstop, the DUP have argued it is not enough for them to offer her their support.
Sammy Wilson, the DUP's Brexit spokesperson, told LBC that the legal assurances have "fallen short" of what was promised.
He said: "I've got to say if you look at what the Prime Minister has said so far, it seems to fall short of what she herself has promised. Because she is simply it reduces the chances of us being kept in the backstop.
"But we want to give due diligence to what has been agreed."
What Has Been The Reaction To A 3rd Meaningful Vote?
Conservative backbencher Peter Bone told Nigel Farage that he would not be supporting the Brexit deal in any further vote, whilst former Tory Cabinet Minister Michael Portillo said he did not believe the deal would pass. He added that nothing in his political career compares to the current Brexit chaos.
Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson said on LBC: "It seems to me that unless there's subterfuge, she's going to lose again and when does that start to become undemocratic?"
And the Speaker of the House of Commons addressed the concerns of MPs when he said that putting the deal to a vote without substantial change would breach parliamentary rules.
John Bercow said: "What the Government cannot legitimately do is resubmit to the House the same proposition - or substantially the same proposition - as that of last week, which was rejected by 149 votes.
"This ruling should not be regarded as my last word on the subject. It is simply meant to indicate the test which the Government must meet in order for me to rule that a third meaningful vote can legitimately be held in this parliamentary session."