The House of Commons will vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement on Friday, according to the Associated Press. The agreement must pass by 11 p.m. GMT on Friday night to secure an extension of Brexit until May 22, per the BBC, otherwise the United Kingdom stands the risk of crashing out of the European Union without a deal on April 12.
The withdrawal agreement has traveled a long and troubled path to a third vote. The first time it was introduced to the House, on January 16, it was rejected 432-202 — the largest margin of defeat for a bill in Parliamentary history. When proposed for a second time, on March 12, it was defeated once again, that time by a 149-vote margin.
Last week, Speaker of the House John Bercow shot down the government’s plan to bring it back a third time, ruling that the government could not bring the same motion for a second vote in the same session of the House.
To circumvent Bercow’s ruling, MPs will vote only on the 585-page withdrawal agreement on Friday, and not the declaration of future ties, a shorter piece of the full deal which lays out a roadmap for future relations between the United Kingdom and European Union after Brexit. While the change has attracted criticism from some MPs, it appears to be the only way to get the deal back onto the House floor for a third vote.
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The deal has attracted so much scorn from Parliament that MPs voted earlier this week to seize control of the Parliamentary agenda from the government in an unprecedented display. However, the series of “indicative votes” MPs created to explore alternatives to May’s deal returned without any sort of consensus, and failed to identify a unified way forward. To help push her deal over the line, May pledged Wednesday to resign if the deal passes and the U.K. leaves the E.U. as planned, according to The Inquisitr.
With the clock ticking and no other clear option in sight, the mood in Westminster is growing increasingly frustrated. The BBC is reporting that Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom called voting in favor of the deal “crucial” to ensure an orderly Brexit on May 22. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, condemned the idea of voting on only half of the bill, stating that it would lead to a “blindfolded Brexit.” Corbyn’s Labour Party and the Democratic Unionist Party have both pledged to vote against the withdrawal agreement.