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UK: May's Brexit government survives no-confidence vote

Conservative government retains confidence with help of votes from de facto partner Democratic Unionist Party

16.01.2019
UK: May's Brexit government survives no-confidence vote

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON

Fresh off Tuesday’s humiliating defeat in a vote on the EU Brexit agreement, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has survived a motion of no confidence with the backing of 326 MPs. 

Almost all Conservative MPs backed May’s government Wednesday even though 118 of them voted against the Brexit deal yesterday. 

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the government’s de facto partner and Northern Ireland’s biggest party, also voted for May’s government, helping it survive the test.

The Labour Party, Scottish Nationalist Party, and Liberal Democrats all voted against the government. The total number of MPs who had no confidence in the government was 306.

May said following the vote that she wants to start talks with the leaders of the opposition parties tonight about a way forward on Brexit.

However, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he has no intention of starting talks with May unless she rules out a no-deal Brexit.

The motion of no confidence was called by Corbyn in the wake of Tuesday’s historic defeat of 432-202. 

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader at Westminster, said they will only engage in talks with May if she is ready to extend Article 50 -- the EU treaty article under which Britain is leaving -- and hold a people’s vote as options on the table.

The defeat on the Brexit deal yesterday was the worst ever for a sitting government in British history. 

The debate in the runup to Wednesday’s vote saw calls for a second Brexit referendum and a general election from every corner of the House, but the prime minister categorically rejected both. 

On Monday May is expected to brief parliament on the government’s next move on Brexit by revealing steps for a Plan B but she is expected to start emergency cross-party engagement on Brexit straight after tonight's vote.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

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