Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is set to return to the Commons as the Government resumes its push to drive through the UK’s departure from the EU by the end of the month.
MPs, who are returning following the Christmas break, will on Tuesday begin a mammoth three days of detailed debate on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) with the House expected to sit late into the night.
Opposition parties have tabled a number of amendments to the legislation, but with the Government now enjoying a Commons majority of 80 they look unlikely to succeed.
The Prime Minister is determined to deliver on his general election manifesto promise to “get Brexit done” by January 31.
The WAB has already cleared its first Commons hurdle, passing its second reading vote before Christmas with a majority of 124.
The Government now wants it to complete its remaining stages in the lower House by the end of business on Thursday.
It would then go to the Lords next week, with ministers confident it can conclude its passage through Parliament in time for it to be ratified by the European Parliament by the end of the month.
That would mean the UK leaving the EU on January 31, with a deal in place covering citizens’ rights, the Irish border and Britain’s “divorce bill” of about £30 billion
It will also mark the start of an 11-month transition period, during which the UK will continue to follow EU rules, while negotiations take place on a free trade agreement.
Senior EU figures, including chief negotiator Michel Barnier, have warned that completing a deal in such a tight time-frame is likely to prove impossible.
However Mr Johnson has been adamant he will not seek any extension to the transition period, raising fears among opposition parties that Britain could be heading for a no-deal Brexit at the end of the year.
Labour has tabled an amendment to the WAB requiring ministers to seek a two year extension to the transition period, to the end of 2023, if there is no agreement by mid June.
But given the Government’s rock-solid majority, the attempt would appear to be doomed to defeat.