Chaos, or keep calm and carry on? What happens if May loses Brexit vote

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May needs to win approval for her Brexit deal in parliament on Dec. 11. But critics are lining up on all sides to say they will oppose it and the chances of the government winning a vote currently look slim.

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators protest against Brexit outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, November 28, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

So what happens if she loses the vote?

By law, if the deal is rejected, ministers have 21 days to state how they intend to proceed. The government has previously said that if the agreement is rejected, Britain will leave the EU without a deal.

In reality, the huge uncertainty in the world’s fifth largest economy and a likely adverse reaction from financial markets would necessitate a much quicker political reaction.

Below are some possible next steps:


May could resign as leader of the Conservative Party, triggering an internal contest to replace her without a general election. She has said she still expects to be prime minister in two weeks.


A long-running effort by some members of May’s own party to get rid of her could gain renewed impetus. If 48 out of 315 Conservative lawmakers want her to go, the party holds a leadership ballot. If she loses, there is an internal contest to replace her without a general election.


The government could try to renegotiate the terms of the deal


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