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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 next 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.

Pro-Brexit demonstrators hold signs outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The main vote is on a motion stating that MPs in the 650-seat House of Commons approve the Brexit deal the government negotiated with the European Union, which envisages close future economic and other ties.

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

These could have the effect 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 difficult for it to ignore and if parliament approves any of them it would be a significant defeat for May.

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

Amendments will be selected on Tuesday at the discretion of speaker John Bercow and can then be put to a vote before the government motion. Voting is due to start at 1900 GMT that day.

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

MAJOR AMENDMENTS – Approval of any of the following three amendments would likely mean instant overall defeat for the government and halt any further votes.

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