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The United Kingdom’s European Union departure took yet another hit last night as Theresa May’s Brexit deal received its expected heavy defeat in the MP’s vote. Before this vote, the Prime Minster suggested to MP’s that it was her deal—no deal or no Brexit. Now it looks as though her days could be numbered.
Every opinion poll and statistic seemed to be against her deal. It was heavily suggested that it would be comprehensively rejected by Members of Parliament and in the end, it was a margin of 230 votes which was actually bigger than a lot of projections. Included in the 430 to vote against the deal were over 100 of May’s own. As this was around the same amount which gave her a vote of no confidence in December, this was perhaps just one of the least surprising margins to come out of the night.
The instinctive reaction of the opposition was swift, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn tabling a motion of no confidence in May and her government. This is scheduled for 7 PM on Wednesday, and would bring an end to the PM’s control of her party and overseeing of the Brexit procedure.
Despite the increased support for a General Election, which could be triggered should May lose her vote of confidence and her party fails to form a government within the 14-day cooling off period, the chances of a Labour victory still feel far away. Labour, in general, seem to be clear on what they want and that is to not leave the European Union. However, their leader has been less certain. Corbyn has suggested that leaving would be the better option, but in more recent weeks suggested that he would continue with Brexit if he was to become PM. Whether this viewpoint changes again may be confirmed should a General Election get called in the coming weeks.
Labour have called for a General Election to "resolve" the stalemate, which shows they assume their party has the answers. A second referendum would be the way to go for many of their supporters, yet Corbyn would have other ideas. If the Labour leader has a better solution to getting the country out of the European Union, then the next few weeks will be his best chance of being able to put it into place.
However, a General Election and a Labour government are still essentially pipe dreams. The early signs don’t look great for Labour in the confidence vote. Conservatives who despise Theresa May would still rather have her in power than see a Labour PM. This will give Theresa May a lot of reluctant voters. It would take a monumental swing against their own party for enough Conservatives to vote in a way which pushes Labour back towards power. This being the case even more so after the DUP pledged their support in May before the close of proceedings in Westminster. The likelihood of any Conservative MP wanting a Labour Prime Minister are slim, and the likelihood of any wanting Jeremy Corbyn as PM is almost non-existent.
If the Prime Minister survives the vote of confidence, then she will need to muster together some form of Plan B (something she admitted to not having in the days building up to the vote on her plan A) by the start of next week. To avoid another crushing Parliament defeat, she will reach out to her own party, as well as those across in other parties, to try and gain some resemblance of unity and see that the country leaves the EU by the March 29, 2019 deadline. One thing is for sure, Brussels doesn’t want to see our PM return for any further negotiations, further restricting the forms which a final Brexit can take.
The tabling of the no confidence motion by Jeremy Corbyn may come to nothing, and if it does, then it will after the vote of confidence from her own party in December’s show that the only way in which Theresa May is going to be replaced in number 10 is when she steps down before the next scheduled election in three years time. Despite the defeats in Parliament and the rising resentment all around the House of Commons, she has shown she wants to see Brexit through to the end—that is, of course, if her fellow party members will allow it.