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May loses Brexit vote by overwhelming majority
Theresa May suffered a historic defeat on Tuesday evening after losing the vote on her Brexit deal by an overwhelming majority. Just 202 MPs voted for her deal, against 432 against, a far bigger loss than most had predicted.
The scale of defeat, by a majority of 230, was greater than any seen against the government in the past century. The vote means the end of the deal originally agreed between Britain and the EU in November, and likely adds further uncertainty to the future negotiations with the EU.
May had urged MPs to give her deal “a second look” when she gave a statement on Monday which included the weak assurances she had been given by EU officials on the Irish backstop, the most controversial point of her Brexit deal.
In the immediate aftermath, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a no-confidence motion, which will now be voted on Wednesday evening. The motion is unlikely to succeed – the DUP have already said they will be supporting the government – however Labour claim they can table these motions again at any point in the future.
May said that if she survives the vote on Wednesday she would “identify what would be required to secure the backing of the house”.
Downing Street has said that the prime minister will approach talks with other parties wanting to find a solution to deliver a Brexit deal that would honour the result of the referendum, suggesting that many calls for changes that do not fall within the government’s red lines may be ignored.
This evening’s no-confidence vote
Parliament’s no-confidence motion will now take place on Wednesday evening, after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled the motion immediately after Theresa May lost her Brexit vote on Tuesday.
Speaking after the announcement of the vote in the Commons, Corbyn told MPs: “This is a catastrophic defeat. The house has delivered its verdict on her deal. Delay and denial has reached the end of the line.”
Theresa May is expected to survive Wednesday’s vote, as the DUP have confirmed that they will support the government, and the vast majority of Conservative MPs are expected to do the same.
The leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, said on Tuesday that a full day of debate would be allowed to discuss the no-confidence motion against the government, up until 7pm, where MPs will have their vote.
If the motion if won by the Labour party, the government would have to decide whether to try and win support from the House, or most likely hold a general election.
The Brexit deal: what happens next?
Theresa May now has three days to return to parliament with a “motion in neutral terms” – an alternative to her failed Brexit plan. This is because of an amendment tabled by Dominic Grieve earlier this month, which was voted for by parliament, forcing the PM to come up with next steps a lot quicker than originally planned.
Extending Article 50
It is increasingly likely that May will soon announce that the government will request an extension of article 50 from the EU. EU officials have already signalled that they are prepared for this eventuality, and do not appear to take issue with it.
However, for many hard Brexiteers, this extension will be an opportunity to point out the incompetence of the government, and push for a no-deal Brexit. Hardline Conservatives such as Jacob Rees-Mogg may be pushing for this publicly.
What the papers say…
The Guardian’s front page, ‘May suffers historic defeat as Tories turn against her’:
The Guardian front page, Wednesday 16 January 2019: May suffers historic defeat as Tories turn against her pic.twitter.com/CFcSyQeL4k
— The Guardian (@guardian) January 15, 2019
The Sun claims May’s deal is ‘dead as a dodo’:
— The Sun (@TheSun) January 15, 2019
The Telegraph calls Tuesday’s result ‘a complete humiliation’:
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) January 15, 2019
The Times cover, ‘May suffers historic defeat’:
— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) January 15, 2019
The Express headline simply reads ‘Dismay’:
After a day of Brexit chaos, here's tomorrow's Daily Express front page. pic.twitter.com/NknHcyHzYQ
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) January 15, 2019
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