Theresa May and the European Union agreed to delay Britain’s exit from the EU for a second time until 31 October for cross-party talks to take place to break the deadlock – but those talks have failed.
Sky News takes a look at what happens in the next few weeks and months now the discussions between Labour and the Conservatives have collapsed without a compromise deal being reached.
:: European Elections
Voters turned away from Labour and the Conservatives in the local council elections earlier this month, which saw a swell in support for the Liberal Democrats. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn interpreted the drubbing as a sign that voters wanted an end to the Brexit stalemate. With a cross-party agreement now off the cards, the two major parties face the prospect of another set of disastrous results next week, for almost three years after Britain voted to leave the European Union, voters will find themselves back at the polls voting to send the new class of 2019 MEPs to Strasbourg and Brussels. The Brexit Party is polling higher than the two major parties combined ahead of next week’s polls. Nigel Farage’s party is on course to get 34% of the votes, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer. Labour are on 21% and the Conservatives are in fourth place on 11%. The pro-EU Liberal Democrats are in third place on 12%.
:: Another set of indicative votes
Theresa May said that if the government failed to draft a compromise deal with Labour, MPs would get binding indicative votes. These could potentially take place next week. The details would have to be thrashed out with Labour over the weekend, and an emergency business statement issued on Monday to change the parliamentary schedule for the voting to take place at some point between Tuesday and Thursday. Another round of indicative votes would provide a sense of where parliament now stands on the issue to break the deadlock.
:: Withdrawal Agreement Bill
MPs will get a fourth vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the European Union in the week beginning 3 June, when she tables the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. MPs have already voted it down three times: First we had the meaningful votes, then the one just on her withdrawal agreement. But in the first week of June, the showdown will be over the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – or WAB – a legally binding treaty that will put all the details of the Brexit deal into law. It will be the prime minister’s last chance to fulfil her pledge to deliver Brexit. However, if she fails and it is voted down again, she will have no option but to walk out of Number 10 and quit her premiership – triggering a Tory leadership contest.
:: Peterborough by-election
In the same week comes the Peterborough by-election – triggered by the ousting of ex-Labour Fiona Onasanya who became the first MP to be kicked out of the House of Commons through a recall petition after being convicted earlier this year of perverting the course of justice for lying about a speeding offence. She won the Cambridgeshire seat for Labour with a narrow majority of 607 in the 2017 general election. The 6 June poll will be a big test for Mr Farage’s Brexit Party. Its candidate will face no single pro-Remainer, with the Lib Dems, Green Party and Renew pitching their own candidates in the race, and Change UK failing to nominate a candidate.
:: Trump visit
US President Donald Trump will make a three-day state visit to the UK from 3 June – the same week Downing Street has said Mrs May will put her Brexit legislation to a vote. Mr Trump, who has long been a cheerleader for Brexit, has not held back any punches on the matter, describing the agreement as a “great deal for the EU” and saying how “badly” he thinks the negotiations have gone. He has repeatedly said the PM has rejected his Brexit advice. No doubt he will have something to say on the matter yet again when he is physically on British soil during such a crucial week.
:: Tory leadership contest
Whichever way the vote on her Brexit deal goes that week, Theresa May is unlikely to quit during a state visit. The prime minister – under pressure to name her exit date from Downing Street – has agreed to meet the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady to set out a timetable for her departure after the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at the start of June to agree to the details of the leadership contest to succeed her. Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has thrown his hat into the ring. Others are expected to follow in the days and weeks to come. The party will expect to have a new leader in place before the parliamentary summer recess, and before the party conference season gets under way in September.
:: October Brexit deadline
The EU has given the government until 31 October – Halloween – to get a deal through parliament. If it is unable to do so, Mrs May – or whoever is prime minister at that point – will have to decide whether to seek a further extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process, which had originally been due to conclude on 29 March – or leave the bloc without a deal on 1 November, a prospect many Brexiteers would happily embrace but which many businesses and Remainers dread. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has said a fourth defeat for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would leave Mrs May’s deal “dead” and force parliament to decide whether it will pursue a no-deal option or revoke Article 50 and halt Brexit.