No confidence vote today after May humiliation
Last night, Theresa May’s Brexit plan was destroyed in a historic defeat. Today, she could be gone for good. Meanwhile, the Brexit countdown continues. What happens next? Anything is possible.
Most people expected Theresa May to lose. But few foresaw the catastrophe that awaited her.
It was the biggest defeat for a sitting government in history. Not since 1924 has a prime minister lost a vote by a bigger margin.
On the line was May’s withdrawal agreement from the EU. It was the best deal possible, she insisted. Less than a third of MPs agreed, and over 400 voted it down.
In normal times, May would be out. But these are not normal times.
“The House has spoken, and the government will listen,” the prime minister said. She promised to hold more talks with MPs and EU officials to find a solution.
And before any more negotiations with the EU, May must make it through today.
After yesterday’s defeat, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence which MPs will vote on tonight. If May loses, she must immediately resign.
In truth, nobody expects this to happen. Tory rebels are certain to rally around the prime minister to keep Corbyn out of Number 10.
But after that, what then?
Quite simply, deadlock. May has little hope of getting a deal passed. Corbyn cannot oust her. And the EU will not budge. Meanwhile, the countdown to Brexit ticks on. As it stands, Britain will leave without a deal in 72 days.
If Parliament wants to avoid that, something must give. A delay to Article 50? (Getting likelier.) A second referendum? (Possibly.)
Whatever happens, there is a long road ahead, with plenty of surprises in store.
How to break the impasse? That is the big question now. Does a deal exist that could satisfy all the factions in Parliament? Is a second referendum necessary?
For that matter, who would even win if a general election, or a second referendum, were to be called? So many questions remain, but for now, precious few answers.
- Should Theresa May resign?
- If you were to vote in a second referendum, would you vote to leave or remain in the EU? Why? Discuss your thoughts in small groups and feed back to the class.
Some People Say...
“All political careers end in failure.”Enoch Powell
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- A majority of MPs must vote in favour of Corbyn’s no confidence motion to force Theresa May from office. However, many expect her to survive.
- What do we not know?
- If Brexit will be delayed, and if so, for how long. We do not know if there will be a second referendum. Some Labour MPs want Corbyn to campaign for a second vote if today’s confidence vote fails.
- Until now, the record was held by Ramsey MacDonald who lost a vote by 166 votes. May lost by a staggering 230.
- While there is a majority of MPs in the Commons who want to avoid a no-deal Brexit, there are some MPs who hold this as their preferred option.
- Article 50
- The legislation which establishes the date on which Britain must leave the European Union. EU officials have stated that this process can be delayed.