What time is the Brexit ‘meaningful vote’? What is it about, when’s the result and can I watch it on TV?

Two and a half years after the EU referendum result, a crucial week in the Brexit process will unfold in Parliament...

Anti-Brexit supporters hold placards and flags as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament on January 14, 2019. - Prime Minister Theresa May ramped up warnings today to MPs poised to reject her EU divorce deal that failing to deliver Brexit would be "catastrophic" for British democracy. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

On 23rd June 2016, UK citizens went to the polls in a referendum that asked voters to decide between two options: ‘Leave the European Union’ or ‘Remain a member of the European Union’.

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Unless you’ve been avoiding all news media for the last two and a half years, you’re probably aware that the result was 52% in favour of leaving.

With Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty triggered on 29th March 2017, and a two year countdown process begun, Britain is due to leave the EU at 11pm on 29th March 2019.

Attention now turns to Westminster and Parliament…

When will the ‘meaningful vote’ take place?

The rescheduled ‘meaningful vote’ on Theresa’s May’s Brexit deal will take place on Tuesday 15th January 2019. Although there is no exact time set for the vote, it is expected that the vote will take place sometime between 7pm and 9pm, with the result shortly afterwards.

Parliamentarians Begin The Brexit Agreement Debate Ahead Of The Meaningful Vote

Will the ‘meaningful vote’ and the the result be on TV and available to stream?

One of the most important moments in the Brexit process so far, broadcasters are expected to be following the developments in Parliament extremely closely.

To watch events in Parliament live, the BBC News Channel and Sky News will both be screening rolling coverage throughout the evening. Both channels can also be live streamed in the UK.

The main Channel 4 News (7pm-8pm) could possibly still be on air when the result comes through, and the BBC and ITV News at 10pm on Tuesday evening are likely to be dedicated to the result of the vote, reaction and analysis. There’s also Newsnight at 10.30pm on BBC2, which will surely be dedicated to the result.

Could there be changes to tonight’s TV meaning EastEnders, Emmerdale, Holby City and Silent Witness are not on in their scheduled slots?

At present there have been no changes made to Tuesday evening’s TV schedules on BBC1 or ITV.

However, depending on the time that the result of the vote comes through, the result itself and the subsequent fallout, it is possible that both BBC and ITV may make changes to their evening schedules in order to accommodate live coverage of this momentous news event.

This could mean that the regular programming is changed at the last minute and that shows scheduled between 7pm and 10pm (when the main news broadcasts begin) including Emmerdale, EastEnders, Holby City and Silent Witness may be subject to change. However, no announcements have currently been made.

Have changes been made on other channels to accommodate Brexit ‘meaningful vote’ coverage?

Yes, so far BBC2 has announced that Newsnight is to be extended by 10 minutes. It will now run for 50 minutes from 10:30pm to 11:20pm.

And Victoria Derbyshire‘s Wednesday morning show will be half an hour longer to accommodate further discussion of the result of the Brexit vote. It will now start at 9:30am instead of the billed 10am (meaning the BBC News beforehand will be only 30 minutes long) and will run to its usual time of 11am.

Channel 4 have cancelled Grand Designs on More4 to continue the news with Channel 4 News Special: The Big Brexit Vote on More4 between 7.55pm and 9pm.

What is the ‘meaningful vote’?

The ‘meaningful vote’ requires that the agreement under which the UK leaves the European Union and the subsequent future trading relationship are approved by Parliament.

This means that in order for the withdrawal plan that the Prime Minister has brokered with Brussels to proceed, MPs have to approve it with a majority vote. This approval by Parliament was made a legal requirement in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Theresa May Leaves For The House Of Commons

Wasn’t this ‘meaningful vote’ scheduled for before Christmas?

Yes, originally the vote was expected to happen on Tuesday 15th December 2018, but the vote was postponed by the Government during the debate. This was to allow them time to try to secure extra assurances from the European Union, especially on the ‘Irish backstop’ arrangement.

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This page will be updated when and when any schedule changes are announced