UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has survived a parliamentary vote of no confidence after the historically devastating loss of May’s Brexit deal yesterday.
After six hours of debating the vote of no confidence, Members of the UK Parliament voted to support the Conservative government by a majority of 19 votes. May will continue as Prime Minister and, with the newfound tentative support of the House of Commons, will continue to attempt to negotiate a deal for the UK’s exit from the European Union which can pass a parliamentary vote.
Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn tabled the motion for today’s vote of no confidence – the first to be conducted under the 2011 Fixed Term Parliament Act – last night after the Brexit withdrawal agreement proposed by the Prime Minister was rejected in the House of Commons by an historic 230 votes. Although Corbyn’s Labour party has functionally lost this vote, it is expected May could face further motions of no confidence unless the Brexit issue is suddenly, miraculously resolved: the last time a vote of no confidence dissolved a British government, in 1979, the government of the time had survived an earlier attempted no confidence motion only a few weeks before.
With 72 days until the UK is due to leave the European Union – fewer then 40 of which will see Parliament in session – and May’s withdrawal agreement soundly rejected by MPs on both sides of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister now has until this Monday, January 21, to submit a “Plan B” for the House’s approval.
Having failed to trigger a general election with the vote of no confidence, which has been its stated goal, the Labour party will now – according to an agreement made at their party conference last year – work towards manageable solutions to Brexit, potentially theoretically including campaigning for a second referendum. There has been an increasing swing among politicians and members of the public alike for a second referendum on the basis that the previous referendum held in 2016 is tainted by allegations of fraud, corruption and a failure to define how and under what terms the UK would leave the EU.