London, UK : British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a no-confidence vote by members of her Conservative Party Wednesday, amid her beleaguered plan to leave the European Union.
Conservative lawmakers will conduct a secret ballot Wednesday evening, prompted after they received the 48 letters required to start the proceedings. The vote is expected to last two hours, The Independent reported.
The movement for the no-confidence vote was galvanized when May abandoned a vote Tuesday in the House of Commons on her Brexit deal after acknowledging it didn’t have enough support.
May argued Wednesday that an effort to remove her would set Britain back in reaching a fair deal with the European Union.
“I will contest that vote with everything I have got,” she said Wednesday.
“A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now would put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it,” she added. “A new leader wouldn’t be in place by the 21 January legal deadline, so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in parliament.”
“The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by [the March 29 deadline].”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the Euroskeptic group of backbench Conservatives, called May’s Brexit deal “undeliverable” and blasted her handling of the negotiations.
“This is not governing, it risks putting [Labor Party leader] Jeremy Corbyn into government by failing to deliver Brexit,” Rees-Mogg said, Politico’s Europe edition reported. “We cannot continue like this. The prime minister must either govern or quit.”
If May loses the vote, the party will immediately start looking for a successor. If she doesn’t, lawmakers wouldn’t be able to hold another no-confidence vote for 12 months — a virtual guarantee May will stick around for the completion of Brexit negotiations.
EARLIER : Theresa May Defers Vote On Brexit Deal
British Prime Minister Theresa May has deferred a parliamentary vote on a Brexit deal. She plans to have further talks with the EU centering on the issue of the Irish backstop, as her position becomes even more confused.
The United Kingdom’s political crisis over its planned departure from the European Union intensified on Monday after Prime Minister Theresa May told lawmakers that she would delay a vote on a draft exit deal and hold further talks with EU leaders.
The government would have been rejected “by a significant margin,” May admitted.
May said she would seek reassurances from the remaining EU member countries which would allow her to secure a parliamentary majority in the deal’s favor.
“It is clear that while there is broad support for many of the key aspects of the deal, on one issue, the Northern Ireland backstop, there remains widespread and deep concern,” May said in a speech to the House of Commons on Monday.
Many hard-line Brexit lawmakers fear the backstop, which aims to keep an open border between the UK province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state. They believe this
could force the UK to adhere to EU rules indefinitely.
“It is the right deal for Britain, I am determined to do all I can to secure the reassurances this House requires to get this deal over the line and deliver for the British people,” May said.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the main Labour opposition, said the UK no longer had “a functioning government.”
“The government has lost control of events and is in complete disarray.” he said.
Lawmakers from the pro-EU Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and pro-EU Liberal Democrats pledged to support a no-confidence vote in May’s government.
“With the fiasco today, the government has really lost all authority. I and my colleagues will fully support the leader of the opposition if he now proceeds to a no confidence vote as duty surely calls,” Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said.
The anti-EU Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a Northern Irish party that props up May’s minority government, called the situation a “shambles.”
“Frankly, what the prime minister says today simply isn’t credible,” deputy DUP leader Nigel Dodds said.
EU leaders have repeatedly said they would not reopen negotiations over the draft deal.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said both sides had worked hard on the draft and that he could “not see what should be changed” in further negotiations. “We want an orderly Brexit,” he said.
Ahead of May’s speech to Parliament, a spokeswoman for EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said “this is the best and only deal possible; we will not renegotiate.”
May’s announcement came after the EU’s top court ruled that London could unilaterally cancel its decision to leave the EU. Some pro-EU lawmakers have called for asking the public on whether to remain in the EU in a second referendum.
But May warned in her speech that a second referendum would risk deepening divisions and merely lead to calls for a third referendum. She also said there was no other possible exit deal that would secure a parliamentary majority.
Britain’s currency fell to $1.2515, its weakest level against the US dollar since April 2017 and to €1.10.