Why Theresa May could keep putting her Brexit plan before the Commons until she gets the answer she wants

A view of the Brexit-inspired mural by artist Banksy in Dover, Kent, as MPs are preparing to vote on whether to back Prime Minister Theresa May's deal for leaving the European Union. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
A view of the Brexit-inspired mural by artist Banksy in Dover, Kent, as MPs are preparing to vote on whether to back Prime Minister Theresa May's deal for leaving the European Union. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
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"Parliamentary procedure is like a hotel breakfast buffet, it's there to be abused", wrote one insightful Twitter user.

It is a view that is both amusing and captures perfectly the current approach in Westminster. Parliament tends to take a make-it-up as you go along approach to procedure which is largely dictated by precedence punctuated by bouts of political pressure.

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And as we enter the Brexit abyss following the meaningful vote we could see this tested to its limits.

One possibility is that the Government, hell-bent on forcing MPs to swallow its deal, could keep coming back to the Commons and putting the same plan on the table until they get the answer they want.

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At the same time Labour, hell-bent on getting a general election, could keep triggering no confidence votes in the hope that some Tory MPs could eventually defect in a desperate bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit. This is all far from normal, but we are not living in normal times.

Restless MPs could break the deadlock, however, through amendments that would force the House to considers plans tabled by backbenchers ahead of government business.

The most prominent of these freelance proposals is being spearheaded by Tory MP Nick Boles, who could give his colleagues the chance to choose a soft Brexit after all.

Whether any of this happens of course will all somewhat hinge on the Speaker. He has shown recently that Parliament’s rules can be rewritten and so we should expect more surprises to come.