Brexit Chaos: What happens after the meaningful vote?

Theresa May visited Stoke-on-Trent this morning
Theresa May visited Stoke-on-Trent this morning
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Judgement day looms for Theresa May’s much-maligned Brexit deal. Despite a few last-minute declarations of support, all the talk in the corridors of power is not on whether she will lose it but by how much, with current predictions stretching to over 200. So, with almost certain defeat on the horizon, what happens next?

Is Corbyn confident?

Theresa May hears from production manager Rob Fidler at a Stoke-on-Trent factory

Theresa May hears from production manager Rob Fidler at a Stoke-on-Trent factory

In the aftermath, the first major headache for the Prime Minister will probably be caused by the Labour party, who are expected to table a vote of no confidence in her government which could kick in the very next day. Although, true to form, they appear to be dithering on when to do it, with Jeremy Corbyn and his top team remaining cagey over the weekend about the timing.

Begging Brussels

As ever, Mrs May won’t have much time to lick her wounds, as a recent rule change - facilitated by the Speaker John Bercow last week - means she will only have until the following Monday to come back with a plan B. In the interim she is expected to head back to Brussels to essentially beg for some game-changing concessions from EU leaders. But given that they have repeatedly dug in their heels she’s likely to get some warms words and not much else.

More Number 10 drinks

Back on home soil the Prime Minister will probably have another crack at wooing wavering Labour MPs. If they are freshly bruised from a failed no-confidence vote, they may feel, as the Labour leader indicated over the weekend, that a deal will save them from further internal turmoil over whether to back a second referendum.

MPs make their moves

Meanwhile, in the Commons the power struggle between the government and MPs will ramp up as various factions finalise their plans to take back control of Brexit. Over the weekend we heard rumours of a plot masterminded by Tory rebels to takeover parliamentary business, and as the week began it emerged that the powerful liaison committee was working on its own Brexit plan B. There will also be a number of indicative votes in the House as MPs try make their voices heard. Expect the Commons to vote on ruling out no deal, a People’s Vote and the so-called Norway Option. But don’t be surprised if there's no strong majority for anything and the government is left none the wiser.

Not another one?

What is certain is that tempers will fray as a no-deal Brexit looms and as the tension mounts we could see Cabinet resignations and more calls for May to step aside. A general election and a People's Vote seem unlikely at this point but if the Prime Minister fails to get her deal through after a couple more attempts and MPs can't decide on an alternative, going back to the polls in one way or another might be the last roll of the dice for a desperate Downing Street.