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Theresa May’s secured a six-month long extension to Brexit, but there’s still several ways this whole saga could pan out.
All of them are looking pretty unlikely, but the PM has to try and find a way out of this chaos somehow before October 31, when we could again be faced with the threat of leaving without a deal at all.
Today hopes have been raised that a deal could be on the cards with the Opposition, after several days of discussions.
Philip Hammond said he was optimistic the way forward could be sorted in a few weeks and a deal sealed in a “couple of months” in the best case scenario.
And Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said today he was “hopeful” and discussions would continue throughout the Easter break.
But many Tories are furious that a deal with the Marxist leader is on the cards at all, after how often Mrs May says he’s unfit to run the country.
It’s unlikely too that they would sign up to anything other than a softer Brexit in the form of the customs union – which would tear the party apart as it would mean no trade deals of our own after we leave.
And for Labour, getting into bed with the Tories would be a huge risk – and to deliver a Brexit that most of their party member don’t actually want.
They would have to be confident that any deal wouldn’t backfire on them and they wouldn’t be blamed if things went wrong.
The PM’s still saying she hopes a deal can get done before mid-May so Britain doesn’t have to take part in the EU elections.
If we can’t get anything signed up by then Tories are set for a kicking at the polls by voters who are fuming we are still not out.
She’s not said she will bring back her deal for a fourth time yet, but she has said she could bring forward the whole EU Withdrawal Bill rather than just a basic motion on her deal, and let them tack on changes to it.
If talks with Labour fail, then Mrs May’s said she will hand control over to the Commons for a set of votes on what happens next.
They’ve already had two votes on what they think should happen but there wasn’t a majority for ANY of the options.
However, this time Mrs May has said she will actually take forward one of the options, which could switch up the Parliamentary maths a bit and push something over the line.
Mrs May has said she’ll quit if she gets her deal through, but hasn’t explained what will happen if the deadlock continues.
The PM has repeatedly said she won’t “as Prime Minister” be able to stay in the EU longer than June, sparking fears she could throw in the towel.
But she’s also got a strong sense of duty and an incredible staying power, so it would be unwise to bet on her leaving No10 for certain anytime soon.
Tories are also plotting to try and boot her out – but under the current party rules they can’t hold a vote of no confidence in her until the end of the year.
Some MPs say there’s plans to change the rules to allow another one, but this would be trickier.
If somehow Mrs May does leave No10 then the leadership contest to follow could be a few weeks or a couple of months, but would likely produce a Brexiteer candidate like Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab or Michael Gove.
They could choose to then take Brexit in a completely different direction, or could even rip up the deal and start again.
Another unlikely option is to force MPs back to the polls in the hope she can win enough seats to try and force through the deal.
But this would require two thirds of MPs in the Commons to vote for it – and for Theresa May to actually want it to.
Another poll would also divide the party as they would have to decide on a common manifesto position, and it’s one that some Tories are bound to disagree with on both sides of the warring group.
After the 2017 election where she lost her majority Mrs May will be wary of calling a snap vote again in case it hands the keys to No10 over to Jeremy Corbyn – no matter how far ahead they are in the polls.
Again, this is another unlikely option, but nothing can be ruled out in British politics at the moment.
Mrs May has said she wants to respect the result of the 2016 vote and the 17.4million who wanted out.
Labour is trying to force a second referendum but it’s failed various votes in Parliament so far and would be unlikely to pass even if Mrs May did adopt it.
It would also open a huge can of worms of what would be on the ballot paper and when such a vote could take place.
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GO FOR NO DEAL
Any PM has the option of taking the UK out of the EU without a deal if they can’t get one done.
But Parliament has shown repeatedly that it doesn’t want Mrs May to do that – and has introduced various bills and legislation to stop it.
A more right-wing PM than Mrs May might try and run down the clock to October 31 to take us out, but MPs are unlikely to stand for it and will try every trick in the book to stop it from happening.
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