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Theresa May’s biggest Brexit battle is still to come

30 January 2019

11:32 AM

30 January 2019

11:32 AM

The morning after the night before finds the Tory party still in good spirits. There is a sense of relief that the party managed to find something that all but 18 of them could vote for.

It was no small achievement to get nearly every Tory MP into the same lobby on Europe with Brexit only 59 days away. But the harder part is still to come. First, Theresa May has to get something from Brussels and then she has to get it through the Commons.

But May’s victory last night has brought her time. She’ll hope that she can get something from the EU and that the longer both no deal and a lengthy extension to Article 50 remain possible outcomes, the more MPs will come round to her agreement as the least worst option.

May has no guarantee of success. But last night could have completely hobbled her in these negotiations. If Brady had failed, she wouldn’t have been able to even make the case that changes to the backstop would get the deal though. Equally if Cooper had passed, the EU would have known she was no longer in charge of the process. May has avoided both of those fates. She is still in the arena.


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