Theresa May no confidence Brexit vote: Suffolk and Essex MPs react

by Garry Watts December 14, 2018, 1:15
Theresa May no confidence Brexit vote: Suffolk and Essex MPs react

The Prime Minister arrived in Brussels after surviving a bruising vote of confidence by Tory MPs, saying she would be looking for fresh assurances to help get her Brexit deal "over the line" in Parliament.

This means that when the prime minister makes another attempt to bring her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to Parliament (she abandoned the previous attempt on Monday) she can do it without worrying that defeat will trigger a challenge to her leadership of the Conservative Party.

May survived a confidence vote of her own party's lawmakers late on Wednesday, but she admitted as she arrived at the European Union summit that she will not fight the next general election planned for 2022.

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.

"I have devoted myself unsparingly to these tasks ever since I became prime minister and I stand ready to finish the job", she said.

European Union members have drawn up a draft six-paragraph statement they hope will appease British concerns about the so-called "Irish backstop" and give life to May's effort to get the deal through parliament.

It seems that her only hope of seeing her deal through parliament is that enough of her MPs will be swayed by any assurances she obtains from the EU as she heads to the European Council in Brussels.

During a night of high drama in Westminster the prime minister was backed by her MPs gaining a total of 200 votes. German chancellor Angela Merkel will step down shortly, French president Emmanuel Macron and Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki are facing no confidence votes and the Belgian prime minister is now leading a minority government. The vote will be held between 18:00 - 20:00 GMT today, December 12 with announcements as soon as possible this evening.

Theresa May made a statement in Downing Street, vowing to fight an effort to oust her as Conservative leader and Prime Minister "with everything I've got".

"Essentially we can throw the parliamentary kitchen sink at them", said another senior Labour source, "with all the trimmings".

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"A joke tweeted by the Lithuanian leader cut through, a little blunter: "#Brexit Christmas wish: "Finally decide what you really want and Santa will deliver", she wrote.

Under the Conservative party's rules, May's leadership can not be challenged again for at least twelve months.

This meant about half the people voting were effectively "in the pay of the Prime Minister in one way or another".

May's sternest opponents within the ERG hinted that they did not entirely believe she will stick to her pledge to go before 2022.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: "I will be supporting Theresa May to continue as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister in today's vote".

But with more than a third of Conservative MPs refusing to support her and a civil war raging over Brexit, the outcome still underlines the scale of the problems she faces.

Paul Webb, professor of politics at the University of Sussex, said the vote reflects only what is happening inside the Conservative parliamentary party at the moment.

"It is also up to Theresa May to tell us what political solution she has planned to build a majority around this deal", Macron said.

However, the opposition Labour party has hinted that it is close to tabling its own no-confidence motion in May's government. It's a ideal Brussels "fudge" in that it allows them to satisfy their own commitments, while simultaneously pulling something out of the hat to allow May to get the deal across the line. The main sticking point, as it has been nearly from the start of negotiations, is the post-Brexit relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and the backstop proposal to cover against any future re-imposition of a hard border between the two.

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