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Another crunch week, another cliffhanger in the Brexit saga


TALKS are due to continue between the government and Labour on potential changes to Theresa May’s withdrawal deal. Meanwhile, the House of Lords is set to carry on debating the joint bill by Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin, which was approved by MPs last week by just one vote. If passed, it will force Mrs May to put forward a motion to the Commons setting out what date she wants Brexit to be delayed until. Peers are then likely to vote on the bill and, if approved, it could gain royal assent and become law by the end of the day.


If the Lords pass the Cooper-Letwin bill, the prime minister might today put forward her motion to the Commons. She has already asked the EU to delay Brexit until June 30, so it’s likely to include this date. MPs could then potentially debate on the plan and vote on it. This could also include votes on amendments that could change the date. Reports suggest Mrs May could today try again to hold a fourth vote on her Brexit deal in (another) last-ditch attempt to get it approved before Wednesday’s EU summit.


EU leaders are due to hold an emergency summit to discuss what to do next. Mrs May will attend and ask for an extension to Article 50. They could agree to a delay which would probably be a date of their choosing rather than June 30 which they have already rejected, or kick the UK out without a deal as soon as possible, which could be Friday. European Council president Donald Tusk is expected to recommend a longer postponement of one year, with a break clause in case MPs approve a deal before then, in a so-called ‘flextension’ arrangement.


If the EU refuses to delay Brexit, the UK could avert a no-deal by revoking Article 50 and cancelling the UK’s exit. This could potentially be done today or Friday at the last minute.

Alternatively, Mrs May could try yet again to hold a vote on her deal in a last-ditch attempt to get it approved by the Commons before Brexit day.


If parliament fails to pass a deal and if Brussels refuses to agree to a delay, then the UK will exit the EU without a deal at 11pm. Today is also the deadline for the UK to inform the EU if it will take part in the European elections. If the EU has agreed to a long delay to Brexit beyond June 30, the government will today have to announce that the UK will take part in the voting, which is scheduled to take place on May 23.