May braces for defeat in parliament over Brexit deal

The British Prime Minister is looking down the barrel of one of the biggest parliamentary defeats in nearly a century, with her Brexit deal failing to gain support from MPs despite May’s best efforts to convince them otherwise.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May Source: Bloomberg

Theresa May is facing defeat in parliament over her Brexit deal on Tuesday, with the main question not whether she will win, but rather how large a margin she will lose by.

As it stands, around 70 MPs from May’s own Conservative party are expected to vote against her Brexit deal, alongside 10 Democratic Unionist Party members and other opposition parties.

On that basis, the prime minister is looking at a defeat of more than 150 votes in parliament – the largest in over a century.

Britain faces Brexit limbo

If May is defeated, which is a near certainty, it will leave the UK lost at sea about its future relationship with the EU.

On Monday, the prime minister said that no Brexit is looking more likely than the country bailing out of the bloc without a deal in place, with no other real alternatives offered by her government if the withdrawal agreement is voted down in parliament at 7:00pm GMT on Tuesday.

If May loses by only a few votes there is a chance she can maintain control of Britain’s departure from the UK and will likely return to Brussels hoping to secure a few more concessions in a bid to get her deal over the line in another vote.

However, if May suffers a major defeat, which many are expecting, it could see the prime minister delay Britain’s departure from the bloc past the March 29 deadline and lead her to entertain a second referendum.

A crushing defeat will also likely see opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn table a vote of no confidence in the government that, if successful, would lead to a general election.

UK stocks flat ahead of Brexit vote

May’s defeat in the House of Commons appears to be one of the few certainties to come from the Brexit process, but investors seem less certain ahead of the vote, a point reflected by UK stocks lack of direction on Tuesday, with the FTSE 100 remaining flat.

Meanwhile, mid-market UK stocks are trading a touch lower, with sub-prime lender Provident Financial and online gambling group 888 Holdings leading the slide, down 19% and 8% respectively on Tuesday.

The pound rallied to a two-month high against the dollar to $1.2930 after May announced that no Brexit is more likely than a no deal scenario on Monday and remains unchanged ahead of the vote.

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