Theresa May government survives no-confidence vote 325-306 after historic Brexit defeat

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May's government has survived a no-confidence vote called after May's Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers.The House of Commons expressed confidence in the government by 325 votes to 306, meaning May can remain in office.

Had the government lost, Britain would have faced an election within weeks while preparing to leave the European Union on March 29.

Despite the reprieve, May faces a monumental struggle to find a way out of her country's Brexit impasse. She has until Monday to come up with a new blueprint for Britain's EU exit after the deal she reached with the EU went down to a crushing defeat in Parliament on Tuesday.

 Theresa May government survives no-confidence vote 325-306 after historic Brexit defeat

British prime minister Theresa May. AP

May returns to Parliament next week with a tweaked deal that is only slightly different to the previous one. But that is unlikely to win over many opponents of the agreement.

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said most leaders who had suffered a defeat on this scale would be "either resigning or looking to trash the deal that they'd got and do something utterly different."

May, however, has proven stubbornly resistant to changing her Brexit "red lines."

"It looks as if we're just going to get more of the same and that she'll come back in a week or so's time with nothing substantially different from what we've got now," Bale said.

New deal?
Only a substantially new proposal from Britain is likely to receive consideration from the EU. Leaders of the bloc have signaled that they would welcome a softer Brexit deal that saw Britain remain part of the bloc's customs union or single market for goods and services.
May has always ruled that out, saying it would not deliver what Britons voted for in the 2016 EU membership referendum. But some lawmakers think they can win majority support for the idea in Parliament, and "soft Brexit" is picking up steam.

Delay Britan's exit ?
With Parliament split, there is a growing chance Britain will seek an extension to the two-year exit process that is due to expire on March 29.
Some ministers are urging May to delay Brexit and then consult lawmakers in a series of "indicative votes" to see if a majority can be found for a new plan. And various factions of lawmakers are exploring ways to use parliamentary rules to wrest control of the Brexit process from the government.
A delay would likely also be needed in the event of two other possible scenarios: a general election, or a second referendum. Any delay to the date of Brexit would require unanimous approval from leaders of the EU's remaining 27 member states.

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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2019 01:06:13 IST