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What tonight's Brexit votes mean for Theresa May and Britain's EU exit

MPS tonight voted to delay Brexit until at least June – killing off our March 29 exit date and pushing it back for months.

The House of Commons opted to tell Theresa May she should delay Article 50 and go back to the EU, after they rejected her Brexit deal twice.

A delay is now set to happen whether she gets her deal passed in the next seven days or not.

Effectively this means Britain won't be leaving the EU in 15 days time as the PM has been promising for the last two years.

It's another blow for Mrs May as she's been forced to go back on her word to the 17million people who voted to leave back in 2016.

And even though it was technically a free vote so her MPs could vote how they liked, seeing 188 of her own Tories go against her preferred choice tonight makes her look incredible week.

BUT, BUT, BUT

Actually, tonight's votes could strengthen her.

She's effectively telling her Brexiteers that she's going to have to kick Brexit into the long grass if they don't back her deal.

Many of them will be afraid of a long extension to Article 50 which would effectively give enough time for a general election or a second referendum.

The PM now plans to bring back her deal next week in another attempt to push it through on the third go.

If she gets it rejected yet again she'll go to the EU and ask for an extension to Article 50 at the Council meeting at the end of next week – but we have no idea how long for.

If it passes, she'll ask for a short extension of weeks or a couple of months to get everything sorted.

There's no guarantee that they will say yes to an extension unless they know exactly what we want.

If it's just to legally cross the is and dot the ts, it will probably get voted through.

COULD THERE BE ANOTHER REFERENDUM?

As it stands, not now.

MPs tonight voted against a second Brexit vote, saying it wasn't the "right time" to push for it.

But even if Labour had decided to back it, then it still wouldn't have passed, meaning it's unlikely to ever get through the Commons at the current time.

However, if the EU force Britain into a long delay you can be sure the People's Vote campaigners will be out in force again campaigning to overturn the 2016 result.

ARE WE STAYING IN THE EU?

Yes, for now.

Any extension means things will stay exactly the same until we sort out what's going on.

And even if the PM's deal goes go through, things will be the same until the end of 2020 during a transition period, so we can get a trade deal sorted.

We'll technically be out of the EU but will still pay them some money and have to abide by many of their rules.

IS BREXIT STILL HAPPENING?

Yes. It's still law that we're leaving on March 29, no matter what happens.

Unless MPs pass a bill to stop that, or Theresa May revokes Article 50 before then, we leave without a deal.

Mrs May will now for an extension to put that date back by a few weeks or months.

But there's no guarantee that they will say yes and we could legally have to leave on March 29 anyway.


WILL THERESA MAY STAY AS PM?

It would be a terrible time to boot her out now, in the middle of all this mess.

But we shouldn't rule anything out.

The PM did manage to dodge a few bullets this evening – including to stop MPs taking control of the process, for a second Brexit vote, or for Labour's alternative plan.

She came very close to losing but just managed to get it in the bag.

It's likely she'll stay at least until the withdrawal deal is done or an alternative solution for leaving the bloc is found.

Then she could pass over to someone else to get the trade deal with the EU sorted.




 

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