In the next 48 hours, Theresa May’s Government faces a deal of Brexit turbulence in the Commons as it seeks to reverse some 14 changes made to its flagship EU Withdrawal Bill by peers. Chances are, the Prime Minister will make it through.

The key votes on the amendments will be:


*The so-called “meaningful vote”. This is likely to be the closest call for the UK Government. If passed, it would mean that if by the end of November MPs rejected the Brexit deal agreed with Brussels, then it could order UK ministers to go back and renegotiate. But this would mean Parliament and not Government effectively being in charge of the UK’s withdrawal strategy.

*Northern Irish border. Lord Patten’s amendment would ban any kind of border infrastructure or checks as this would undermine the Good Friday Agreement but one of the Government’s options, maximum facilitation, would involve the use of high technology on the border.

*The Scottish devolution clause. Given the restricted timescale for debate, it is possible the Commons will have little or no time to discuss the changes, which would not only anger Opposition MPs but also Conservative ones given the Government amendment to change Clause 11 was taken in the Lords not the Commons.


*The customs union. The Government insists even if defeated on this amendment, it would not be forced to abide by EU customs rules. Tory rebels, minded to vote to keep Britain in the customs union, look set to hold their fire for another day ie when the Trade Bill returns to Parliament in July; a vote here is a clearer call for Britain to stay in a customs union with the EU.

*Membership of the European Economic Area. UK ministers are confident in defeating the so-called Norway option because Labour is split on the issue, so the numbers will go easily in the Prime Minister’s favour.