PM Johnson braces for fight in Westminster tomorrow' Meaningful vote
UK DUP spokesperson will encourage Conservatives MPs to vote down Johnson deal
Former UK Conservative Letwin says 17/18 Tory rebels will back the Prime Minister
The countdown to tomorrow's Meaningful Vote in Westminster is on after Boris Johnson managed to strike a new deal with the EU. The matter is now down to the numbers in the Commons and the PM ability to persuade 61 Members of Parliament to back his deal. The magic number that will resolve the impasse is 320 votes needed to pass the deal through Parliament.
Last time Theresa May deal received the approval of 279 votes Conservatives. 19 of which were expelled by Johnson after blocking no-deal Brexit in Parliament. After the DUP (10 seats) refused to support the PM (as they did with Theresa May), the PM will probability start form a baseline of 259 MPs leaving him 61 votes short. According to early reports a former UK Conservative said that 17 of the Tory rebels expelled by the PM will probably back the Government tomorrow. This group of MPs - also known as the Gaukeward Squad - according to reports have been looking for a way back in the party which may well be welcome in this occasion in case support to the new deal. Another group, nicknamed "the Spartans" made up of 28 MPs, has refused in the past to back May's deal and in fact refused to back any sort of deal. However, given Johnson latest compromise, they might be in fear of remaining cut off from the possible success of the Tories should the deal get passed.
Looking into more significant minorities, there is also an interesting fraction of 15 Labour MPs which signed a letter this month urging the EU to resolve the impasse. As this might be seen as a commitment to back the Government, last time Theresa May managed to get only 5 on board. However, since Johnson announced the deal the potential number has increased by 10, forming a total of 31 potential Labour vote. According to reports, there might also be a small fraction of Independents in favour, 4 of which already back Theresa May deal in March and potentially a fifth - Woodcock - which might be inclined. The last two potential supporters might be the PM brother Jo Johnson, who resigned and voted against the deal last time, plus the Liberal Democrat Norman. Interestingly, in case of a tie, Speaker of the House Bercow will have the final say and it is not clear how he would exercise it.
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