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Boris Johnson needs to swing about 30 vote for his Brexit deal to pass, and that is my expectation even though some insist it will not pass without DUP.

A Telegraph Number Crunch shows that is not necessarily the case.

My comments in brackets.

Mr Johnson has a deficit of 58 votes to overcome from when Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement was defeated for a third time.

Although the new deal has yet to be properly scrutinised, it is unlikely that he'll lose many of the 286 MPs that voted for a deal in that third meaningful vote. This would leave Mr Johnson with the task of winning a net 30 extra MPs over to his cause.

1: The ERG and the "Spartans" [28 possible]

The European Research Group (ERG) consists of around 80 eurosceptic Conservatives who were vocal in their opposition to Theresa May's deal. Most of them voted against it on the first two occasions but for it on the third.

A smaller subset of this group - 28 "Spartans", including Steve Baker - refused to back Mrs May's deal when their other colleagues caved-in.

While he can't get the 30 extra MPs he needs from this camp, there are clear signs that a large number of them may be open to backing his deal.

2: The expelled Tories [4 possible]

Last month Mr Johnson expelled 21 Conservatives from the party after they opposed the government by voting along with Labour and the other opposition parties to remove a no-deal Brexit option from the table.

Just four of this number actually opposed Mrs May's deal at the third time of asking, with the remaining 17 best classed as anti-no dealers rather than ardent remainers.

This means they should be persuadable when it comes to supporting any deal that Boris Johnson is able to secure - although there are no guarantees yet.

3: Labour rebels [50 possible, 19 likely]

This is the group that will, in all likelihood decide whether or not Boris Johnson passes his Brexit deal. Even with the support of all the expelled Tories and the ERG the numbers might not be there - especially if the DUP aren't on board.

Luckily for Mr Johnson there have been consistent rumblings from the likes of Stephen Kinnock - a Labour MP representing a Leave constituency - that they would support a Conservative Brexit deal.

It didn't happen under Theresa May - when only five Labour MPs rebelled against their party leader - but there is a sense that it could be different this time around.

Earlier this month, 19 Labour MPs signed a letter to the EU asking them to agree a deal with Boris Johnson so that they could vote for it, while last month Caroline Flint suggested that up to 50 Labour MPs might back a deal.

While 50 might be on the high side, 19 Labour rebels would in all likelihood be enough to swing the numbers in Mr Johnson's favour.

It means that there could well be enough votes available for a Brexit deal to be agreed by parliament on Saturday. But it will be tight.

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Free Vote?

The margin of victory or defeat will likely come down to whether or not Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn will expel any Labour MP who votes for the deal.

If Corbyn grants a free vote, or even a 1-line Whip, it could pass with a huge margin.

My Expectation If DUP On Board

  • 27 Spartans
  • 19 Labour MPs minimum
  • 10 DUP

My Expectation If DUP Not On Board

  • 22 Spartans
  • 10 Labour MPs on a free vote and possibly anyway

In either case, it appears the deal will pass, but if it is that close, perhaps it fails because a few of those who voted for May's deal do not vote for this one.

But it is not even certain that DUP will vote against the deal. The EU will not revise the deal, but Johnson can likely add some sweeteners

With DUP on board, passage is a near certainty. If Corbyn offers a free vote or a one-line Whip it's also likely to pass easily,


One trick that Corbyn might pull is to allow a free vote on the deal, then demand it be put to a referendum. Such shenanigans would fail, and probably miserably.

Just Found This - Free Vote

Looks a little convoluted. Here is the rest of the chain:

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Amazingly Good Deal

Hannan is a free market advocate. If he likes the deal, so do I.

With one hand tied behind his back, Johnson did amazingly well.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock