What happens next with Brexit? Here are five options facing Theresa May

What happens next with Brexit? Here are five options facing Theresa May
Theresa May holds a press conference at 10 Downing Street to discuss her Brexit plans this evening. Photo: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

With the white smoke turning to blinding fog, it is far from clear where the Brexit deal goes from here.

Five options face British prime minister Theresa May, and all carry as many benefits as pitfalls:

Push the deal through

This is Ms May's preferred option after she stared down the first wave of open rebellion against her on tonight.

If the British prime minister drives on with the deal, it will be signed off on at an EU summit on Sunday week before a Westminster vote next month.

However, even if this happens, with an open Conservative Brexiteer revolt, ministers dropping like flies, DUP and Scottish National party opposition and Labour officially opposed to the deal, the odds are stacked against it passing parliament.

Scrap the deal and crash out

Ms May firmly ruled this out during a detailed press conference today - but the prime minister may not be speaking for her government anymore.

If the deal is scrapped and the EU declines to re-negotiate, Britain will crash out of the EU next March without any deal and without any safety net - a disastrous scenario for all involved.

Remove May in a no confidence vote and re-negotiate the deal

This is what hard-line Brexiteers like Jacob Rees Mogg, Dominic Raab and Michael Gove insisted today in their own studious way - with more than one eye on their own future leadership ambitions.

To do this, 48 Conservative MPs will have to send letters saying they no longer have faith in Ms May to their party's 1922 committee.

The figure is well on the way to being reached in part due to a ministerial meltdown of resignations, paving the way for a potential no confidence vote next week, cancelling the EU summit in the process.

However, while removing Ms May - who faced down opponents last night - could be possible, re-negotiating the deal is less likely, with European Council president Donald Tusk adamant this will not happen.

A snap British general election

Should Westminster vote down the deal or Ms May face a no confidence motion next week, this is firmly on the cards.

The reason is because Ms May could seek an election on a "this deal or nothing" basis to shore up her support if parliament rejects it, while it is an obvious move for her internal party opponents if they remove her from power.

A second referendum

Asked directly about a re-run of the June 2016 Brexit referendum on Thursday night, Ms May said clearly "as far as I am concerned there will not be a second referendum".

However, the key words here are "as far as I am concerned".

Ms May does not want a re-run, but the the calamity in Britain has resulted in ongoing calls for a people's vote on the deal - something that would get quite a number of ambitious politicians out of short-term jail.

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