30 January 2019: What happened on 29 Jan 2019 and what next?

UK Members of Parliament (MPs) across all parties had a chance to suggest and vote on amendments to the withdrawal agreement.

In the end, MPs were allowed to vote on seven amendments, of which two passed.

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1. Renegotiate the Irish border

The deal the Prime Minister struck in Brussels ensured that there would not be a "hard border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland. This measure is called the backstop. This is the element designed to protect the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Avoiding a "hard border" would mean that goods would still be able to cross the border without checks, but this prospect has gone down badly with the influential hard-line Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party who want a clean break with Europe.

On the 29 Jan, a majority of MPs said they now wanted a new deal which made changes to the backstop.

This is far easier said than done.

2. Avoid "no deal"

 A majority of MPs also backed another amendment that rejected the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

At least now we know where most MPs stand on this issue, but it doesn't really change anything: it's not as though they've suggested how they hope to avoid leaving without a deal. Nor is this move legally binding, so a no-deal Brexit could still happen.

What happens next?

A good question.

In theory, Theresa May now has a mandate to ask the EU for new talks on the backstop. The problem is the EU doesn't want to, and doesn't see any reason why it should. It says the whole backstop issue has already been dealt with. Ireland, an EU member, doesn't want any change to the backstop deal either.

So if the EU doesn't want to reopen negotiations and the British parliament can't find a compromise, what happens? We'd be facing a "hard Brexit": the UK would crash out of the EU on 29 March with no deal.

And the journey continues!