The British Parliament is set to vote on competing Brexit plans today, with Prime Minister Theresa May desperately seeking a mandate from lawmakers to help secure concessions from the European Union.
Legislators will vote on proposals that have been submitted by both pro-Brexit and pro-EU legislators since Parliament rejected May’s divorce deal with the bloc two weeks ago. It left Britain lurching toward a cliff-edge no-deal departure from the bloc on March 29.
May insists her agreement can still win Parliament’s backing if it is tweaked to alleviate concerns about a contentious provision over the Irish border. The border measure, known as the backstop, would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU in order to remove the need for checks along the frontier between the UK’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Britain leaves the bloc.
Opposition to the backstop by pro-Brexit lawmakers, who fear it will trap Britain in regulatory lockstep with the EU, helped sink May’s deal on January 15, when Parliament rejected it by 432 votes to 202. Though Parliament is overwhelmingly opposed to May’s deal, lawmakers are divided over what to do instead – whether to brace for a no-deal Brexit or to try and rule it out.