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Robert Craig: What Happens Constitutionally If the Draft Withdrawal Agreement Is Voted Down?

Could take 2 months for Tory party members to elect a leader from the two shortlisted by MPs

UK Constitutional Law Association

Now that a draft withdrawal agreement has been settled with the European Commission, the next step is a ‘meaningful vote’ in the House of Commons pursuant to s 13 European Union Withdrawal Act (‘EUWA’) which I analysed recently on this blog with Gavin Phillipson. This post seeks to explore what the Prime Minister might do if the draft agreement is voted down. Three potential scenarios are suggested. The theme of this post is that the ripple effects of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (‘FTPA’) mean that previously accepted constitutional norms may have been affected and it may be helpful to explore what could happen as a result.

Scenario 1 – Theresa May resigns as party leader but not Prime Minister

If Theresa May were to lose the “meaningful vote” on her proposed agreement, a central plank of her premiership will have been rejected by her party and by the House…

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