All you need to know about the Brexit bill and the 'meaningful vote'

Prime minister Theresa May Photo: PA

Prime minister Theresa May is facing yet another close Brexit vote as the EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns to the House of Commons amid divisions over the role of MPs in the final legislation.

Here are some of the questions being asked about this week's votes:

What is the purpose of this Bill?

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill revokes the 1972 Act which took the UK into the European Economic Area, but also transposes all relevant EU law into British statute so there are no holes in the law book at the point of Brexit.

What is today's vote about?

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MPs will vote on an amendment to the Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on Monday by Viscount Hailsham, which would allow the Commons to have a "meaningful vote" on the final Brexit deal with the EU.

What is the "meaningful vote"?

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The government has promised MPs a vote on the final Brexit deal, but initially said it would be a simple "take it or leave it" choice. The House of Lords originally amended the Bill so that if MPs reject the deal, they can direct ministers to go back and renegotiate.

I thought they had voted on this already?

Yes, last week the Government saw off a rebellion by pro-European Tory backbenchers by agreeing to concessions. But rebels led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve believe the concessions publicly made are not those agreed with the Prime Minister in private.

What's the government's new plan?

It has tabled a Bill offering MPs a vote on a "neutral motion", if the agreement reached by Mrs May with Brussels is rejected by the Commons, or if no deal has been obtained by January 21.

Why is this unpalatable to the rebels?

It would be unamendable, meaning MPs cannot insert a requirement for Mrs May to go back to the negotiating table, extend the Brexit transition or revoke the UK's withdrawal under Article 50.

Is the Government guaranteed to get what it wants?

All sides believe they can win today's vote. The rebels believe they can inflict a stinging defeat on the government, but Brexiteers are also said to be increasingly confident of victory. It will be yet another busy day for the Tory whips.

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