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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May as she makes a statement to the House of Commons in London on Jan. 14, 2019.

HO/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May has made a last-ditch effort to win support in Parliament for her deal to leave the European Union, but she has made little progress and the United Kingdom appears headed for a chaotic Brexit.

MPs will vote on Ms. May’s deal Tuesday evening and are expected to reject it by a wide margin. The result will throw the Brexit process into turmoil with less than three months to go before Britain is supposed to leave the EU on March 29. If the deal is defeated, Ms. May will have three working days to come up with a new plan. If that too is rejected, MPs will decide on the way forward, which could include holding another Brexit referendum, delaying Brexit or cancelling it altogether.

On Monday, Ms. May urged MPs to back her deal. In a speech in Stoke, she said rejecting it would lead to “grave uncertainty” and could result in either Brexit not happening or the country leaving the EU without an agreement, which "would cause turbulence for our economy, create barriers to security co-operation and disrupt people’s daily lives.”

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She lashed out at opponents, including many of her fellow Conservatives, who have plotted to undermine the deal. “As we have seen over the last few weeks, there are some in Westminster who would wish to delay or even stop Brexit and who will use every device available to them to do so,” she said.

Later that day in the House of Commons, she said rejecting the deal and allowing the U.K. to crash out of the EU could even cause the breakup of the country by spurring the independence movement in Scotland, where Brexit is unpopular, and prompting moves to unite Northern Ireland and Ireland.

She also unveiled a letter from the EU that she hoped would address some of the complaints about the deal. Opponents have zeroed in on the so-called “Irish backstop,” which guarantees that there will be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland while the U.K. and the EU negotiate a comprehensive trade deal. Several MPs argue that various provisions of the backstop would keep the U.K. tied closely to the EU, which they say defeats the purpose of Brexit, and that the backstop could go on forever. Ms. May has argued that it would only last until a comprehensive trade deal is struck. On Monday, the EU sought to back her up by saying the backstop was only meant to be temporary and that it won’t come into force if the two sides negotiate a trade agreement within three years of Britain’s departure.

Ms. May said the assurances from the EU guarantee that the backstop is a last resort. “I say to members on all sides of this House: Whatever you may have previously concluded, over these next 24 hours, give this deal a second look,” she told the House of Commons. “No, it is not perfect. And yes, it is a compromise.”

But such assurances have done little to win over many critics. “Despite a letter of supposed reassurance from the European Union, there are no ‘legally binding assurances’ as the Prime Minister talked about in December. In fact, there is nothing new. Nothing has changed,” said Nigel Dodds, an MP for Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which has 10 MPs and has kept Ms. May’s Conservatives in power.

Reports indicate the deal will be voted down by a margin of about 100 MPs, with as many as 64 Conservatives voting with opposition parties. Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to push for a general election once the deal is defeated, and a group of MPs from all parties is making plans to take over the Brexit process and press for another referendum.

“It is time to face reality, extend [the Brexit deadline] and let the people decide,” said Ian Blackford, a Scottish National Party MP.

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If the British Parliament votes on the government’s Brexit deal and it does not pass

May resigns and a new leader is chosen by Conservatives

British Parliament votes on motion of ‘no confidence’ in May's government

May is ousted, parties try to form

a new government

May stays PM and puts the deal up for a 2nd vote or puts forward a new plan

Government and Parliament fail to agree, leading to a deadlock

Parliament agrees on a new plan, May asks EU for new negotiations

A new government’s plans on Brexit

are unclear

British general election

New Brexit referendum

No Brexit,

Britain cancels Article 50

No deal Brexit

SOURCE: REUTERS

If the British Parliament votes on the government’s Brexit deal and it does not pass

May resigns and a new leader is chosen by Conservatives

British Parliament votes on motion of ‘no confidence’ in May's government

May is ousted, parties try to form

a new government

May stays PM and puts the deal up for a 2nd vote or puts forward a new plan

Government and Parliament fail to agree, leading to a deadlock

Parliament agrees on a new plan, May asks EU for new negotiations

A new government’s plans on Brexit

are unclear

British general election

New Brexit referendum

No Brexit,

Britain cancels Article 50

No deal Brexit

SOURCE: REUTERS

If the British Parliament votes on the government’s Brexit deal and it does not pass

May resigns and a new leader is chosen by Conservatives

British Parliament votes on motion of ‘no confidence’ in May's government

May is ousted, parties try to form

a new government

May stays PM and puts the deal up for a 2nd vote or puts forward a new plan

Government and Parliament fail to agree, leading to a deadlock

Parliament agrees on a new plan, May asks EU for new negotiations

A new government’s plans on Brexit

are unclear

British general election

New Brexit referendum

No Brexit,

Britain cancels Article 50

No deal Brexit

SOURCE: REUTERS

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