U.K. disarray: May to face no-confidence vote by lawmakers

Wednesday, 12 Dec, 2018

Lawmakers in British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party on Wednesday triggered a confidence vote in her leadership over Britain's planned divorce from the European.

Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal keeps Britain bound too closely to the European Union, while pro-EU politicians say it erects barriers between the United Kingdom and its biggest trading partner and leaves many details of the future relationship undecided.

"Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division just as we should be standing together to serve our country".

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs May said: "I will contest that vote with everything I have got". That followed her decision to delay a vote on Brexit which she admitted she was certain to lose.

There needed to be 48 MPs calling for her to go - out of 315 Conservative MPs - to trigger a confidence vote and this threshold has now been reached.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting to keep her job as members of her Conservative Party seek to oust her in a no-confidence vote.

"A new leader wouldn't have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through Parliament by Mar 29 So one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it", she said. All other Conservative lawmakers can run.

They include former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit ministers David Davis and Dominic Raab, who all resigned their government positions in protest of May's Brexit strategy.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid added: "The last thing our country needs right now is a Conservative Party leadership election".

The list of possible replacements is long, but there is no clear frontrunner.

We wait with bated breath to see what will go wrong next.

While May said that she would seek assurances from the European Union on the Northern Ireland issue, European Union officials have insisted that the deal as it stands is the final offer. "As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario".

Leader of the House and Tory MP Andrea Leadsom defended May on Tuesday saying she was aiming to secure "legally-binding reassurances" that Britain would not be indefinitely stuck in a backstop customs arrangement. But she returned home empty-handed - and she was briefly trapped in her own vehicle as German Chancellor Angela Merkel awaited her.

In Ipsos Mori's most recent poll, less than a quarter of the respondents felt that the British Prime Minister could get a good deal with the EU However, half of the country said she shouldn't resign if Parliament rejects her deal - a sign that for many, political chaos is more worrying than a bad Brexit.

"I will contest that vote with everything I've got".

A day after pulling the vote in the face of ridicule from lawmakers, May rushed to The Hague for breakfast with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and then to Berlin to meet Chancellor Merkel before a trip to Brussels.

"It is very important that these have to be additional legally binding reassurances", he told reporters in Brussels, adding that what lies ahead is "a hard and complex negotiation".

On Monday, reports suggested that May was planning to postpone bringing the Brexit deal before Parliament on Tuesday, as scheduled, because she could not garner sufficient support for her deal from British lawmakers.

May must win the support of at least 158 Conservative MPs to continue in office, in which case she could not be challenged again for 12 months.

The proposal, however, has faced a backlash from Labour and other opposition parties, and the DUP - which backs the government in a confidence-and-supply pact - but says it will not back the deal unless there is "radical surgery" to amend its terms.

The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, which are both anti-Brexit, have urged Labour to do so and are hoping this could lead to a second referendum.