Theresa May has pleaded with MPs to back her Brexit deal, as she kicks off five days of debate in the Commons ahead of the crunch vote on December 11.
But before she even addresses MPs her Government will come in for intense criticism over claims it is in contempt of Parliament by refusing to publish the full legal guidance given to ministers about the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration negotiated with the European Union.
Commons Speaker John Bercow said there had been an “arguable case that a contempt has been committed” and ruled MPs should debate the issue on Tuesday.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was repeatedly challenged about the issue in the Commons on Monday but insisted it was in the public interest for the advice he gave to ministers to remain confidential.
Meanwhile, the EU's top court official has advised that Britain does have the power to remain in the EU, even though Article 50 has been triggered.
Here's everything you need to know about the debate on the deal.
What is the current plan?
The Government has allotted time on five days for the deal to be debated. This includes up to eight hours of debate on December 4, 5, 6 and 10 – with the votes expected on December 11. Amendments have been tabled by two Labour MPs to extend the time for debate.
What are they debating?
The Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the Government, which outlines the terms on which the UK will leave the EU and the desired future relationship. MPs are being asked to approve this by supporting a motion tabled by the Prime Minister.
Can MPs change what has been put forward?
Yes. Speaker John Bercow can select up to six amendments which MPs can then vote on.
What are the amendments?
Various ones have been tabled. Labour’s official proposal would decline to approve Mrs May’s Brexit deal and explains this is because it fails to provide for a permanent UK-EU customs union and “strong” single market deal. It also voices concerns over Northern Ireland.
Labour’s amendment also outlines that MPs will “pursue every option” that prevents the UK leaving the EU on the terms of Mrs May’s deal or leaving without a deal.
Tory and Labour backbenchers have also tabled an amendment which seeks to reject Mrs May’s deal while also avoiding a no-deal Brexit.
What will happen with the votes?
It’s hard to say. Some 20 Conservative MPs have said publicly they will vote against Mrs May’s deal, 45 have said they will not vote in favour and more than 20 have said they are unhappy with it.
With Mrs May’s minority government allies the DUP also expressing their own concerns, then the chance of the deal being approved with a simple majority of 320 of the 639 MPs eligible to vote is highly unlikely.
Any amendment would need to appeal to a wide enough group of MPs to receive the required votes to be successful. Abstentions are likely on all votes.
What does a vote involve?
MPs walk through division lobbies – in essence, rooms either side of the Commons chamber known as the ayes and noes. They have eight minutes to reach the division lobbies when a vote is called.
They register their vote on a tablet device and the result is usually announced within 15 minutes of the vote being called.
If there is more than one vote, MPs tend to wait in the chamber and the process is repeated.
What about the House of Lords?
They will spend three days debating the deal on December 5, 6 and 10.