Theresa May under pressure to postpone Brexit vote as humiliating defeat looms

Posted On: 
10th December 2018

Theresa May will make a final decision today on whether to cancel tomorrow night's Commons vote on her Brexit deal after being warned she faces a humiliating defeat if it goes ahead.

MPs are due to vote on the Brexit deal tomorrow night.
PA Images

Government chief whip Julian Smith is understood to be urging the Prime Minister to postponse the vote after concluding that victory for the Government is now impossible.

Several Cabinet minister have also told Mrs May that there is no prospect of winning the vote, and that the defeat could be so emphatic that it could sweep her from office.

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Suspicions that it could be delayed increased last night after the embattled PM held talks with both EU Council president Donald Tusk and Irish Toaiseach Leo Varadkar.

A spokesperson for the Irish government said: "They discussed the current situation on Brexit, including the planned vote in Westminster on Tuesday."

One Cabinet minister told PoliticsHome that the chances of the vote being pulled at the 11th hour were "low", but it has not been ruled out.

Speaking yesterday, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay told the Andrew Marr Show: "The vote is on Tuesday. That is what we're focused on."

Ironically, Mrs May could be spared from the humiliation of a three-figure defeat if MPs back an earlier amendment in the name  of Labour MP Hilary Benn which would effectively kill her deal and rule out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Were that to be passed, the size of the rebellion on the so-called meaningful vote would be massively reduced - although the Prime Minister's plans would lie in tatters.

It is also unclear whether, if Mrs May decides to pull the vote, MPs would then need to approve a change to the Commons business planned for Tuesday.

One Westminster insider said: "To be certain, I think they’d need to do a statement, business statement AND have a vote to pull the vote."