Brexit: what happens next?
CGTN

Theresa May faces a crunch week that will decide the fate of her deal to leave the EU, and the shape of Britain's future. Nilay Syam explains the complicated process that could unfold for MPs voting on the issue.

British Prime Minister Theresa May returns to the House of Commons on March 12 for a crunch vote that could dramatically alter the Brexit process.

May has been trying to negotiate changes to her Brexit deal, especially the controversial backstop plan, which was drawn up to prevent the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after the UK leaves the European Union.

The prime minister's initial attempts to get backing for her deal failed to win approval in Parliament after pro-Brexit MPs in her Conservative Party, and her allies from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) raised concerns over the indefinite nature of the Irish backstop arrangement.

Infographic: As attention shifts to the House of Commons, this flow chart follows what happens next with Brexit. / CGTN Photo

Infographic: As attention shifts to the House of Commons, this flow chart follows what happens next with Brexit. / CGTN Photo

The current deal took 18 months to negotiate between the EU and the UK and May has been seeking concessions from her European counterparts on the backstop issue to help get it through the Commons. 

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would not back May's Brexit plan, because he wants to see a permanent customs union with the EU.

If MPs reject May's renegotiated deal on Tuesday, this leaves just over two weeks until March 29 when the UK is due to leave the EU.

So, what happens then? Well, May could continue to seek changes to her deal and try to get it through the Commons at the third time of asking.

But, if the deal is defeated on Tuesday, MPs are seeking to rule out the option of the UK leaving the EU without a deal in a vote on Wednesday.

MPs are then set to vote the following day on delaying Brexit from March 29. It's not clear what happens if they vote against a no-deal Brexit but also oppose the idea of delaying Brexit.