Factbox – Britain’s Brexit vote: What are ‘amendments’ and why do they matter?

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s parliament will, over the course of a series of votes on Tuesday evening, decide whether to approve or reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal – a pivotal decision for the world’s fifth largest economy.

FILE PHOTO: Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The main vote is on a motion stating that lawmakers in the 650-seat house of Commons approve the Brexit deal. The government needs this approval in order to ratify the deal it has agreed with the European Union.

But, before the big vote, lawmakers will make attempts to change the wording of the motion through a parliamentary device known as an amendment.

These could have the affect of rejecting May’s deal and setting out another path, or adding conditions to the approval.

Any amendments will not be legally binding and so cannot automatically change the government’s course. But, they will be politically powerful and if parliament approves any of them it will be a significant defeat for May.

In some cases defeat on an amendment is so significant that the voting process is halted and the deal is considered to have been rejected. Even minor amendments, could prevent the government from getting the unequivocal approval it needs to ratify the deal.

Six amendments will be selected on Tuesday from all those submitted and can then be put to a vote before the government motion. The selection process is at the discretion of speaker John Bercow. Voting is due to start at 1900 GMT on Tuesday.

Below is a list of amendments that have been submitted so far:


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