January 17, 2019 / 1:34 PM / 8 months ago

Factbox: UK PM May's Brexit 'plan B' - What happens next in parliament?

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s parliament is at an impasse after lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal earlier this week.

Houses of Parliament are seen at dawn in London, Britain, January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

May has said she would meet with senior parliamentarians from all parties to try and find a deal that could command the support of parliament and was “genuinely negotiable”.

Below is what is due to happen next in parliament:


May will make a statement and put forward a motion in parliament on her proposed next steps on Brexit. Parliament will not debate the motion at this point.


After May has published that motion, lawmakers will be able to propose amendments to it, setting out alternatives to the prime minister’s deal.

Parliament is deeply divided over Brexit, with different factions of lawmakers supporting a wide range of options including leaving without a deal, holding a second referendum and seeking a customs union with the EU.

An amendment expected to be put forward by Conservative lawmaker Nick Boles would go further than simply proposing an alternative Brexit approach. He proposes to effectively give parliament control of the process by changing parliamentary rules to allow non-government lawmakers, known as backbenchers, to propose new legislation.


Parliament will hold a whole day of debate on May’s proposed next steps, and the alternatives put forward by other lawmakers.

They will not be asked to vote to approve a revised Brexit deal at this stage, but votes on the alternatives proposed by lawmakers should give an indication of whether there is any way forward which is supported by a majority in parliament.

May does not have to pursue any alternatives supported by parliament but would be under huge political pressure to do so.

If an option were approved by a majority of lawmakers, May could go back to the EU and seek changes to her Brexit deal. Parliament would ultimately still need to vote on any revised deal, but it is not clear when that might happen.

If the Boles amendment is approved, he has proposed legislation which would give the government until early March to secure a new deal with the EU that has support of the majority of lawmakers. If it cannot, it would require May to request an extension to Article 50, to avoid leaving without a deal on March 29.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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