Explainer – Can Britain’s parliament prevent a no-deal Brexit?

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May’s political weakness was exposed by a series of defeats in parliament this week, prompting claims that rebel members of parliament can wrest control of the process to leave the European Union.

FILE PHOTO: A bus with a pro-Brexit message passes an anti-Brexit demonstrator outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

But can lawmakers stop a no-deal Brexit?

On Tuesday, MPs voted to limit the government’s tax-raising powers in the event it decides to pursue a no-deal Brexit without parliament’s explicit approval, part of a campaign to stop the country leaving the EU in a disorderly fashion.

MPs again defeated the government on Wednesday, forcing the prime minister to come back to parliament within three working days with a new plan if, as is widely expected, her Brexit deal with the EU is defeated on Jan. 15.

IS THERE A MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT FOR STOPPING A NO-DEAL BREXIT?

    Almost certainly, yes. Tuesday’s vote indicates that all the main opposition parties and at least 20 MPs in the ruling Conservative Party are opposed to leaving the EU without a deal.

    May is the weakest British leader in a generation, with a working majority of 13 MPs in parliament. Her minority government is dependent on the support of a small Northern Irish party to pass legislation.

    As the opposition parties and pro-European MPs in the Conservative Party have proved this week, they have the numbers to defeat the government.

SO CAN THEY STOP THE GOVERNMENT LEAVING WITHOUT A DEAL?

There is no clear legal route available to them to stop a no-deal Brexit.

    Opposition to no-deal in itself is not enough.

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