by Larry Neild
LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) --
British Prime Minister Theresa May survived the latest bid on
Wednesday night to see her ousted from 10 Downing Street.
Backbench MPs from her governing Conservative Party met in
London and rejected calls for the party’s rules to be changed to
pave the way for a challenge to May as early as June.
A growing number of MPs have expressed dissatisfaction with
her handling of negotiations over Brexit, and want her to quit.
May has indicated that she will announce her departure date
from Number 10 when a withdrawal deal is agreed by the British
Last December May survived a confidence vote, and under
current rules she cannot be challenged again until 12 months
after the decision, which means no challenge can be made until
Conservative politicians at a behind-closed-doors meeting
decided against changing the rules to enable a confidence vote
in a leader to be considered six months afterwards, rather than
Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, made up of
Conservative backbench MPs, said he will be telling the Prime
Minister over the next few days that backbenchers expect more
detail on her departure plans, including what happens if she
fails to get her Brexit deal through the House of Commons again.
Brady told journalists after the meeting that the decision
was the result of two lengthy meetings and good full and
constructive debates, in a friendly and collegiate way.
He said the issue was now settled and that there was "not a
mood to revisit this matter in the near future".
Speculation in Westminster was growing Wednesday that May is
considering asking the House of Commons within the next few
weeks to vote on her Brexit Withdrawal Bill, the legal process
needed to allow Britain to leave the EU.
Her withdrawal bill has already been rejected on three
occasions by MPs in the House of Commons.
Politicians and political commentators say what would amount
to a fourth outing for her Brexit plan would be high risk
because if the legislation is rejected by MPs the government
would not be able to bring it back again for another vote in the
same parliamentary session.
Britain had been due to leave the EU on March 29, but its
membership of the bloc had been extended by the EU Council until
October 31 after efforts to agree a withdrawal deal failed to
Blame game continues as
search for Brexit solution goes on in London
by Larry Neild LONDON United Kingdom
(Xinhua) -- Politicians returned to
Westminster Tuesday after their Easter recess with no progress
reported during the latest round of talks between the two main
parties seeking to end the Brexit deadlock.
The governing Conservatives and their rivals, the Labour
Party, blamed each other for the lack of progress in the quest
to find a deal both sides can agree to enable Britain to leave
the European Union.
Prime Minister Theresa May, eager for her own three-times
rejected Brexit withdrawal deal to win support, accused Labour
of "dragging its feet in Brexit compromise talks", the Daily
Telegraph in London reported.
May is said to have told her senior ministers at a Tuesday
cabinet meeting that while talks with Labour were serious, they
had hit difficulties over how quickly they should take place and
reach a conclusion.
Main opposition leader, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn accused the
government of just "regurgitating" the prime minister’s plan
over and over again, accusing the government of dragging its
Corbyn said the government had so far refused to move on the
terms of May’s Brexit deal which MPs have already rejected three
times, once by the biggest margin in British political history.
The Telegraph commented: "The comments by the two leaders
suggest a Brexit breakthrough remains incredibly unlikely and
the two sides may well be pivoting towards a blame game ahead of
the potential collapse of the talks."
May’s official spokesman told a regular media briefing that
the government’s position was that progress needed to be made
urgently as it was vital to deliver on the result of the 2016
referendum when people voted to leave the EU by a 52-48 margin.
Corbyn responded: "There has got to be a change.
"We have a window of opportunity to bring about that change.
"I hope the government recognises that and makes the most of
Talks between the two parties took place Tuesday, led by
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, while Labour’s
negotiating team was led by Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer
and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
If the British parliament fails to agree a Brexit deal
quickly, Britain will have to take part in next month’s European
Parliament elections, even though the MEPs (Members of the
European Parliament) elected would only serve in office until
Britain leaves the bloc.
The latest potential candidate to announced she will be
seeking a seat in the European Parliament is 53-year-old, Rachel
Johnson, sister of former Foreign Secretary, and an ex-mayor of
London, the Conservative Boris Johnson.
Meanwhile the fate of May’s reign as Britain’s prime minister
dominated talk in the corridors of Westminster Tuesday.
Britain’s media has widely reported that an increasing number
of Conservative MPs want May to announce the date she will leave
10 Downing Street, with some saying they favour a date in early
Backbench Conservative MPs gathered at a meeting in London to
discuss whether there should be a change of rules to enable a
no-confidence vote to take place.
May survived such a vote late last year, and under current
party rules, she cannot be challenged for a year. It would mean
a fresh challenge not taking place until the end of 2019, unless
the rules are changed.
Reports in London late Tuesday said no conclusion had emerged
during a meeting of the executive of the 1922 Committee, the
name of the body representing backbench Conservative MPs.
One report said a further meeting would take place Wednesday
to discuss a possible change in the party rules.
Newspapers in London said Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the
1922 Committee had met May in her Westminster office and told
her a number of MPs wanted her to name a date for her departure.
Scotland’s first minister
calls for new independence vote before 2021
by Larry Neild LONDON United Kingdom
(Xinhua) -- People in Scotland should
be given the chance before 2021 to vote for independence from
the United Kingdom, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
said in a major speech Wednesday.
Sturgeon made the call in a speech to the Scottish Parliament
at Holyrood following the decision by the EU Council to extend
Britain’s membership of the bloc until October 31.
In her statement to MSPs (Members of the Scottish
Parliament), Sturgeon said:
"A choice between Brexit and a future for Scotland as an
independent European nation should be offered in the lifetime of
"I can confirm that the Scottish Government will act to
ensure that the option of giving people a choice on independence
later in this term of Parliament is progressed," she said.
She also said the British government at Westminster should
revoke Article 50 rather than press ahead with Brexit if leaving
with no deal is the only option.
Article 50 is the mechanism triggered as part of Britain’s
exit process from the EU.
Sturgeon, who is also leader of the Scottish Nationalist
Party (SNP), warned that as new deadline October approaches the
risk of a no deal Brexit will rise again.
"The immediate priority we now have is to stop Brexit for the
whole UK and we should seize that opportunity, and my party will
seek to do so," she added.
If that cannot be achieved, said Sturgeon, dealing with the
consequences of Brexit, and facing up to its challenges, will be
"I believe that the case for independence is now stronger
than ever and I will make that case," she said.
She said the Scottish government will take the necessary
legislative steps to pave the way for a referendum over the
Sturgeon acknowledged that the Scottish government would need
the agreement of Westminster before holding a new independence
In 2014, people in Scotland voted by a 55.3 to 44.7 margin to
remain as part of the United Kingdom. In total 2,001,926 voted
to stay, with 1,617,989 wanting to leave the UK. Almost 85
percent of voters in Scotland took part in the referendum vote.