May heads for Brussels after surviving rebels' challenge

14 December, 2018, 01:04 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May

The Prime Minister needed to secure at least 159 votes and did so by fending off a rebellious group of 117 MPs to obtain 67% of the overall vote.

But the prime minister remains under fire despite seeing off the challenge to her leadership.

But 117 MPs voted against the PM - a much greater number than predicted prior to the announcement.

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, who is against Brexit, told BBC Breakfast: "We are still back with the problem that the government has a proposal that we can't get through Parliament and we have got to try and break that gridlock".

May said she had been heard on the backstop: "No one that I met yesterday is in any doubt about the strength of concern in this house on this issue of the duration of the backstop". But it was a significant vote against which can't be ignored.

'Now let's crack on with getting the changes we need to the deal on offer and press on with no deal preparations.

Earlier this week, the prime minister travelled to meet European Union leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, to raise the issues surrounding the withdrawal agreement at Westminster one-on-one.

In theory, yes. Whilst May cannot face a vote of confidence as leader of the Conservative Party for another year, she can-and likely will-face a vote of confidence as prime minister sooner or later.

When previous leaders have used this tactic - notably in recent years Tony Blair and David Cameron - it has diminished their authority and left many people wondering exactly when they would depart.

The prime minister won the confidence vote with a majority of 83 - 63% of Conservative MPs backing her and 37% voting against her.


Theresa May is the very picture of resilience and tenacity; even her political opponents admire her ability to stand steadfast as arrows rain down from all directions - but make no mistake, she has been mortally wounded.

He called on parliament to delay or scrap Brexit if the United Kingdom stays on course to crash out on 29 March 2019 without Downing Street having secured ratification of Mrs May's agreement.

May promised members of her party that she would stand down before the 2022 general election in a last-ditch bid to win their support and United Kingdom bookmakers were confident she would emerge victorious.

"And I think Dominic Raab, in a party that is largely in a country that is wanting to see Brexit delivered and espoused by somebody who really believes in it, I'm sure Dominic would have a message".

Speaking after the vote, Theresa May said she would return to Brussels on Thursday to seek legal assurances over the "backstop" measure in her Brexit plans.

Momentum has also been growing in recent weeks for a so-called people's vote on Brexit.

The vote had been triggered by MPs angry at her Brexit policy, which they say betrays the 2016 referendum result. The EU don't like referendums in that they can't be controlled, they will be wary that another in/out vote could once more go against them, while deal/no deal vote could also go against them.

May's spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that "there will be no meaningful vote before Christmas", while the prime minister negotiates with her European Union counterparts.

May, who spent Tuesday touring European Union capitals to appeal for changes to sweeten her divorce deal for reluctant United Kingdom lawmakers, has until January 21 to hold a vote on the agreement in Parliament, a timetable that could be scuttled if she is replaced.

But if May's deal fails in parliament and Brexit is not delayed, then Britain could be heading towards a disorderly exit that investors fear will clog the arteries of trade, dislocate supply chains and roil markets.

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