London mayor Sadiq Khan called Wednesday night on May’s
government to withdraw article 50, the mechanism that triggers
Britain’s EU departure on March 29.
He said: "If we cannot
have a general election the British public must have the final
say, with the option to stay in the EU."
In another day of nail-biting drama in the House of Commons,
the 10 MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern
Ireland came to the rescue to save May’s Conservative
The DUP has a pact to shore up May’s minority government in a
supply and confidence agreement.
Had the DUP back the no confidence measure put forward by
Corbyn and the other political parties at Westminster, May could
have lost by just one vote.
In Wednesday night’s six-hour debate, politicians on the
Conservative benches, who 24 hours earlier were divided on May’s
Brexit deal, rallied to ensure May’s government survived.
Corbyn had urged MPs to back a no confidence move, saying
May’s zombie administration had lost the right to govern.
Professor Richard Toye, head of history at the University of
Exeter said Wednesday:
"It is incredibly difficult for an opposition to force a
"The outcome of the confidence vote will be to sustain
Theresa May in office but not in power.
"We are in the
May is now on course to continue seeking parliamentary
backing for a Brexit deal to enable Britain to leave the EU
later this year.
May will return to the House of Commons on Monday to make a
statement to MPs about Brexit and to present MPs with an
alternative Brexit plan in the hope it has more success than the
deal rejected Tuesday by a massive margin of MPs.
Government of British
Prime Minister Theresa May
survives no-confidence vote by narrow margin
LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) --
British Prime Minister Theresa May won a
confidence vote in the House of Commons Wednesday, averting any
immediate risk of an early general election.
The vote of no-confidence, put forward by the main opposition
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was lost by 325 votes to 306. It
meant the government survived by just 19 votes.
It means May is now on course to continue seeking
parliamentary backing for a Brexit deal to enable Britain to
leave the European Union (EU) later this year.
May will return to the House of Commons on Monday to present
MPs with an alternative Brexit plan in the hope it has more
success than the deal rejected Tuesday by a massive margin of
432 votes to 202.
Corbyn told May in a six-hour debate before the vote that if
a government could not get their legislation through Parliament,
they must go to the country for a new mandate.
The move was backed by opposition parties at Westminster,
apart from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who supported
"The prime minister has lost control and the government has
lost the ability to govern," said Corbyn, describing May as
leader of a "zombie government".
Corbyn said every previous prime minister in the same
situation would have resigned and called an election.
May, in her speech, said a general election would be the
worst thing Britain could do.
"It would deepen division when we need unity, it would bring
chaos when we need certainty, and it would bring delay when we
need to move forward," said May.
"At this crucial moment in our nation’s history, a general
election is simply not in the national interest," she said.
"We are living through a historic moment in our nation’s
Following a referendum that divided our nation in half, we
dearly need to bring our country back together," May added.
Sudden no-deal Brexit
moves closer, but May’s rejected deal could return
LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) --
The prospects of a sudden no-deal
Brexit have moved closer, according to a leading expert, but the
EU Withdrawal Agreement soundly rejected by the British
parliament on Tuesday evening could yet be the basis for
Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
British Prime Minister Theresa May saw her EU Withdrawal
Agreement suffer the biggest defeat of a government policy in
the history of the House of Commons.
The deal was rejected by a massive margin of 432 votes to
"To lose a vote by that majority is unprecedented in British
politics," Alan Wager, research associate at The UK in a
Changing Europe, an independent think-tank at King’s College
London, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
"This was a chance for MPs to register their views on Brexit
and on the deal, but it is likely that on any future vote the
numbers against would be reduced significantly," Wager said.
There are several options open now for Brexit.
These range from a sudden withdrawal on March 29 at the
deadline of the Article 50 formal EU exit process, which would
see Britain leave with no agreement, to a scrapping of Brexit
These options could take in a change in prime minister, a
change in government, a general election, and a second Brexit
referendum or a mixture of those things.
May survived her next hurdle on Wednesday night when MPs
supported her as prime minister in a vote of confidence called
in the House of Commons by the main opposition Labour Party,
winning that vote by 325 MPs to 306 MPs.
According to Wager, May could now seek to change some of the
language around her rejected Withdrawal Agreement and bring it
back to the House of Commons for a vote.
"She might have to change the agreement.
"The substance agreed with the European Union would stay
substantially the same but she could change some of the politics
of it, and the aspirations of it to gain majority support in the
Commons," Wager said.
"I would not rule out the broad thrust of the deal
surviving," he said.
As the deadline for withdrawal from the EU nears, MPs are
under increasing pressure to find a solution, and this could
work in May’s favor.
"Something needs to happen before the end of March, otherwise
we will have a no-deal Brexit which will have catastrophic
consequences," Wager said.
Wager believes May is unlikely to secure any further major
changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, with the EU insistent that
there is nothing new to offer.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker warned on
Tuesday evening after the House of Commons vote that time was
running out and Britain needed to clarify what it needed as
quickly as possible.
"The EU is not willing to change the agreement itself—it is
willing to give more positive signals to Theresa May and there
are signs that heads of state are willing to give May some help
in selling the deal to people," Wager said.
There has been a vocal and growing campaign called the
People’s Vote calling for a Second Brexit Referendum.
This has support from a small number of MPs from the main
Conservative and Labor parties and support from some of the
small political parties in the House of Commons.
However, support for a second referendum is currently not
dominant among MPs.
Wager said: "It is possible Brexit could be reversed.
"It is unlikely but it is still possible."
British Sterling pound rebounds after BREXIT deal voted down