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October 19, 2019

Brexit vote showdown: where the parties stand


Sat, Oct 19, 2019

LONDON: British MPs vote Saturday on the Brexit deal struck between the government and Brussels with the result forecast to be extremely close.

Of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs to find 319 other deal supporters to be certain of getting approval for the revised deal he negotiated.

Here is a guide to where the parties stand -- and where Johnson could win or lose.

- Conservatives -

287 votes

The majority of Johnson´s governing centre-right party is on board, having backed previous versions of the deal put forward by his predecessor, Theresa May.

Potential dissenters include the self-styled ´Spartans´ group of hardline eurosceptics which always rejected the May deal.

Their leader, Steve Baker, is keeping his cards close to his chest but members have made positive noises about Johnson´s version.

Whether the deal satisfies the Brexiteer ultras will play a big part in its chances of success.

- Labour -

242 votes

Labour is ordering its MPs to vote against the deal. The left-wing party fears a Conservative government would use the terms to weaken workers´ rights regulations.

Potential dissenters: five voted for May´s deal last time while two abstained.

Nineteen -- including four of the five -- wrote to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on October 8 urging a Brexit deal they could back so Britain can leave the EU on October 31.

A handful of others are considering backing the deal.

These are the MPs Johnson will be desperate to woo. Labour rebels will be critical to the deal´s chances of passing.

- Independents -

36 votes

Largely split between Conservatives expelled for trying to block no-deal and MPs who have quit or been suspended from Labour.

Last time, two ex-Labour, one Northern Irish unionist and one former Liberal Democrat independent voted for the deal.

The 20 ousted Conservatives -- plus Amber Rudd who then quit in protest over the mass expulsions -- contain 18 MPs who backed May´s deal.

Voting for Johnson´s deal could offer a route back into the Conservative ranks. Another crucial group to watch.

- Scottish Nationalists -

35 votes

The left-wing secessionists say they "will vote down Boris Johnson´s Brexit". They want the Conservatives out of office and an early general election.

"Scotland did not vote for Brexit in any form, and SNP MPs will not vote for Brexit in any form," said leader Nicola Sturgeon.

- Liberal Democrats -

19 votes

The centrist Lib Dems are anti-Brexit. In government, they say they would cancel Brexit altogether.

They are seeking an amendment to put any deal to the public in a second referendum.

"I am more determined than ever to stop Brexit," said party leader Jo Swinson.

- Democratic Unionists -

10 votes

The Conservatives´ Northern Irish allies say they will vote against the deal, citing concerns over customs, consent and sales taxes.

In a blow to Johnson, the DUP says the deal "drives a coach and horses" through Northern Ireland´s peace accords.

- Others -

10 votes

Independent Group for Change (5): The centrist Labour/Conservative defectors oppose the deal.

Plaid Cymru (4): The Welsh nationalists say the deal is "nothing but very bad news for Wales".

Green (1): Caroline Lucas said the deal "trashes environment... I´ll be voting against".

- Non-voting -

11 MPs

Speaker John Bercow and his three deputies (two Labour, one Conservative) do not vote, while the seven Irish republicans of Sinn Fein do not take their seats.