Theresa May will hold another Brexit vote in June. But will it pass this time?

The government’s hope is that the Brexit Party’s expected success in the European elections will scare up the remaining 33 votes that it needs.

NS

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Theresa May will bring forward the withdrawal agreement bill – the accompanying legislation to bring the exit deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union into British law – on the week beginning 3 June, Downing Street has announced.

The government’s hope is that a combination of gains for independents and the expected success of the Brexit Party in the European elections will scare up the remaining 33 votes that it needs to overcome the hard core of Brexiteer resistance on the Conservative benches and the DUP’s objections to the backstop.

Could it? There are, in theory, enough Labour MPs who want a deal rather like May’s to pass and who oppose a second referendum for reasons of electoral expediency or ideological conviction to overcome the resistance of the DUP and the remaining Conservative hold-outs. But thus far, those MPs have, with a few exceptions, been unwilling to risk the internal flack they’d take for backing May’s deal.

In any case, the problem for May is that if the European elections change the calculation of a Labour MP in a Leave-voting constituency they will almost certainly do the same for Conservative MPs in a similar boat. And unlike the meaningful vote, May doesn’t just need a one-off majority – she needs an enduring one that can resist hostile amendments, whether they be from Brexiteer ultras or die-hard opponents of leaving.

And of course, if the deal is passed, it is the end for the Conservative-DUP confidence and supply deal.

Hence the need, as far as many Conservatives are concerned, to find a way to get rid of Theresa May before the year is out – because all roads in this parliament point to deadlock and they have no prospect of getting a better result with the current leader still place.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.