ANALYSIS: Now Boris Johnson has a new Brexit deal from the EU, can he get it past MPs?

Posted On: 
17th October 2019

Boris Johnson has hailed a major breakthrough in the Brexit saga after agreeing a new-look Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. But he now faces a potentially much bigger hurdle: getting MPs to back it.

Boris Johnson now has to get his deal through the House of Commons
Credit: 
PA Images

Ever since Theresa May lost a case at the Supreme Court to Gina Miller, the Prime Minister has required Parliament’s approval before a deal can be formalised.

And with a majority of -45 and the DUP saying they will not back the proposals, attention turns to how likely is it Mr Johnson is going to see it passed.

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Boris Johnson announces Brexit deal done despite DUP objections to new agreement

The target for the PM is 320 MPs to get a majority. There are currently only 287 who take the Conservative whip, leaving him 33 short.

Here are the potential scenarios for when the vote takes place on Saturday:

Best case scenario:

Boris Johnson wins over all the so-called Brexit ‘Spartans’ from the ERG caucus of hard-line Eurosceptics and gets every single one of the 287 Tory votes.

He then manages to convince a large majority of the 36 independents – many of whom used to be Conservative MPs – to back the deal.

And all of the Labour members – plus the Lib Dem Norman Lamb - who have toyed with the idea of backing a deal decide to finally walk through the lobbies with the PM and vote for the Withdrawal Agreement.

Conclusion: The Prime Minister’s deal sails through

Conservative: 287

Independent: 25

Labour: 25

Lib Dem: 1

Total votes: 238 (+18)

Worst case scenario:

The PM fails to win round very many of the 25 ‘Spartans’ who voted against Theresa May’s deal three times, leaving him at around 270 Tory votes.

Many of the independent MPs who lost the whip under him refuse to back his deal, reducing their numbers to single figures.

And the Labour MPs who have often said they wanted to vote for a deal again fail to materialise – reducing the number of rebels to a rump of just a handful.

Conclusion: He does no better than his predecessor

C: 270

Ind: 8

Lab: 6

Total: 284 (-36)

Likely scenario:

Mr Johnson is able to win over a large number of the ERG, but several MPs hold out once again, believing Mrs May’s old mantra that no-deal is better than a bad deal.

Most of the ex-Tory independents back the deal with the potential they may have the whip restored for doing so.

And a few more Labour MPs back it than did during Meaningful Vote 3, but not as many as have claimed they will actually do vote for the deal.

Conclusion: The PM falls just short

C: 280

Ind: 22

Lab: 12

LD: 1

Total: 315 (-5)

Ultimately the PM seems destined to end up several votes shy of a majority, and it would need something extraordinary between now and when MPs walk through the lobbies on Saturday afternoon to see Mr Johnson victorious, but stranger things have happened.

Many thought he would fail to even get a new deal from the EU, but it appears in securing one in Brussels he has sealed its fate to be rejected back in Westminster.