MPs preparing for EU vote today expect heavy defeat for Prime Minister
PUBLISHED: 07:30 12 March 2019
MPs are today preparing for Theresa May's second "meaningful vote" on her deal to leave the EU - but few believe the result will be substantially different from the first.
But what happens if or when she loses heavily again is still unclear – although Downing Street insists that votes on leaving the EU without a deal and extending the country’s deadline to leave remain on the table.
Suffolk’s six Conservative MPs all voted for the PM’s deal when it was first debated in January and there is little to suggest any have changed their mind this time.
The government had hoped that some of those who voted against last time – when it was defeated by 230 votes – would back Mrs May this time, but few believe she will turn enough around.
Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said: “I think the government will lose again. I don’t think it will be as great. But unfortunately I cannot see enough people coming around to support the deal.”
If it does fail, there is due to be a vote tomorrow on leaving the EU without a deal – “crashing out” as some anti-Brexit campaigners call it.
That is also expected to be defeated, but the scale of the defeat might not be as large as some expect according to some MPs.
One loyalist said: “Some people are thinking of voting to keep ‘no deal’ on the table to keep up the pressure on the EU negotiators. At the moment they seem to think they can just say ‘no’ to everything because we won’t go through with this.
“Some feel we need to keep this in our armoury to show them we mean business – even though it would be the worst outcome for us and the rest of the EU.”
Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin was irritated by the arguments going on among Conservative’s over Brexit: “If we end up falling out of the EU without a deal because of their incompetence and that causes problems for my constituents, I’ll let them know exactly who’s to blame for all this.”
Mrs May’s position as Prime Minister could also be in serious doubt if she loses heavily tonight – and there are growing pressures on her from Brexiteers who do not want any delay to the UKs departure from the EU and from ministers who are concerned at the prospect of a “no deal” departure and potential damage to the economy.