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One last heave?

Having seen her Brexit withdrawal deal fall for a second time earlier this week, by 149 votes, most people could have been forgiven for thinking Prime Minister Theresa May's deal was pretty much dead.

We’ve been here before though, on 15 January, when Mrs May's deal was smacked out of sight by over 200 votes. Once again, in light of this evening's events, it would appear that reports of the deals’ demise once again look like being premature, as rather than being declared dead on the mortuary slab it appears to have twitched back to life.

Tonight's events in parliament look set to see the prime minister go for one last heave, as having avoided seeing parliament wrest control of the Brexit process, this evening’s vote to ask for an extension until 30 June, and in the event of another failure, for another one-off longer extension, was passed by 210 votes: 412-202.

This means we look set to return next week for another go at getting the withdrawal agreement passed, assuming that the prime minister can get the Democratic Unionists on board. Even now this still seems a big ask as there appear to be enough Conservative party ultras who won’t accept the deal at any price, which means the next attempt to pass the deal could well fail too, albeit by a smaller amount.

Whatever happens it now seems unlikely that the UK will leave the EU on 29 March, although that still remains the legal default, which means MPs may have to swallow some unpleasant conditions which might be attached by the EU.

The pound’s reaction has been pretty much as expected, given most of what transpired this evening was pretty much as expected; however we remain no clearer to knowing what MPs do want.

Attention will now turn to the prospect of another so-called meaningful vote on Mrs May's deal, which if it fails again will mean that the prime minister will have to go to the EU Council next week and throw herself at the mercy of the leaders of the EU27, and hope they are feeling generous. Time to restock on the popcorn.

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