Brexit countdown: Unanswered questions
Updated 16:44, 11-Mar-2019
By Nayan Seth, Li Jingyi
01:49

As the Brexit clock ticks in the UK, the country is nowhere close to a breakthrough. Nonetheless, a crucial moment seems to have arrived.

What are the likely Brexit scenarios and is the UK any closer to achieving its exit goal? Prime Minister Theresa May's deal, a no-deal Brexit or a delay – what will UK lawmakers choose?

This week, there are three crucial votes that will decide which way the Brexit tide can turn. 

Read more:

Brexit scenarios: How this week's crunch votes could play out

Demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London, February 27, 2019. /VCG Photo

Demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London, February 27, 2019. /VCG Photo

First, on Tuesday, MPs are scheduled to vote on May's plan for Britain's departure. If she wins, Britain would be on course to exit the European bloc on March 29.

But, there is still no consensus over her plan and she's likely to lose the first vote. If that happens, she would be back to square one, leading to a second vote on Wednesday.

The MPs would then vote on leaving the EU without a deal. Experts say Parliament is expected to reject this possibility too, as it would likely be economically catastrophic for the UK. Staunch Brexit-ers would back this vote but they don't seem to have the necessary numbers.

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech in Grimsby, March 8, 2019. /VCG Photo

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech in Grimsby, March 8, 2019. /VCG Photo

A second rejection would open the possibility of a third and final vote on Thursday, where lawmakers would decide whether to delay the exit date. An extension would require separate approval from the EU. Observers say a delay is among the most likely scenarios, but critics point out that extending the deadline still leaves the Brexit puzzle unsolved.

There are many questions that remain unanswered. One, what happens if MPs vote down all three proposals? Next, if a delay is approved, what new compromises could the EU even offer the UK?

And finally, could Theresa May personally survive yet another political defeat and retain her hold on power?

(Cover: Pro-Brexit activists march outside the Houses of Parliament in central London , February 27, 2019. /VCG Photo)