Of course, this is speculation, but we can have a go at giving a guess without too much concern.
If we were to first take all the parties and groups voting intentions as declared, through the party or individual MP’s, the picture is clear.
To win a majority in the Commons, the government needs 320 votes. Of course, the Tories have not commanded an overall majority since the 2017 election and have been propped up by the DUP.
That’s where the first domino falls. The DUP will not back the draft bill as it stands, so that’s the Government down by 10 votes already, bringing it beneath the threshold of victory.
Further, the hard-line Tory Brexiteers are unlikely to support the deal lowering the Government’s number down by roughly 50 votes as well as a further 16 votes when you factor in the Tory Remainers who have rebelled and called for a people’s vote. This Brings the number of Tories likely to vote with the Government to about 250, give or take.
Now let’s look at Labour. Labour have consistently called for a General Election, in the hopes of winning power without a plan for what comes after. The party whip is unlikely to whip its MP’s to vote with the Government. However, there are 15-20 Labour rebels that may vote with the Government on this occasion. If we were to say 15 Labour rebels voted with the Government that would bring the Government number to about 265. Still nowhere near enough.
Alone, a Labour and Tory rebel coalition could bring down the draft Withdrawal Agreement. What solidifies the draft agreements fate further is that Plaid Cymru, the SNP, the Greens and the Lib Dems will also vote against the Government.
What Happens if the House Rejects the Draft Agreement?
As mentioned in an earlier article, the Government will have 21 days to propose a new plan. As far as we can see it, the Prime Minister has three options:
Option 1 – Call for a people’s vote. As with the first referendum, a referendum bill would have to be put before the House. It’s unclear how the numbers would add up here. MPs who voted against the draft Withdrawal Agreement would not necessarily vote for a second referendum and vice versa. However, with pressure rising for a peoples vote, MPs who would be unsure how to vote could be pressured into supporting a referendum bill if it were put before the house. Therefore, it could be feasible to believe that a referendum bill could pass through the House of Commons.
Option 2 – Call a snap election. It would be safe to assume that this would be an unlikely scenario, though you never know these days. Labour would more than likely back a snap election. However, the Tories, fearful of losing further MPs and power, would unlikely back this. There is of course the potential that the Prime Minister is removed. In this scenario, the new Prime Minister has 14 days to form a Government and win a confidence vote, otherwise a general election is called.
Option 3 – Theresa May resigns. If Theresa May cannot command support for her draft Withdrawal Agreement and fails to pass a referendum bill for a people’s vote, then it is unlikely she could survive as Prime Minister. Of course, there’s every possibility that she would not even be given the option to resign and could be forced out by her own MPs.
5 Reasons Why Plaid Cymru Cannot Support the Draft Agreement
- The Agreement takes us out of the Single Market and Customs Union
- The political declaration doesn’t include full details about our future trading relationship – it’s a Blind Brexit
- The Prime Minister has ignored Wales’ interests entirely
- Wales will not be granted the same status as Northern Ireland in relation to the Single Market and Customs Union
- The Prime Minister does not intend on holding a People’s Vote