Theresa May’s Brexit plans go down to historic defeat in Commons

Anna Jefferson
January 16, 2019

"A defeat has been broadly anticipated in markets since the agreement with the European Union was closed in November 2018 and caused several members of the government to resign", said Richard Falkenhall, senior FX strategist at SEB.

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a vote of no confidence in prime minister Theresa May after she suffered a crushing defeat in her Brexit vote.

After the Prime Minister said that she would hear a debate on the house's confidence in her government tomorrow, should Mr Corbyn want to raise the motion, the Labour leader took the stand immediately afterwards to say that he would.

"She can not seriously believe that after two years of failure she is capable of negotiating a good deal for the people of this county".

The EU would likely be more receptive to a softer Brexit deal that saw Britain remain part of the bloc's single market for goods and services.

"She can not seriously believe that after two years of failure, she is capable of negotiating a good deal for the people of this country", Corbyn told the house following the result.

The British leader's last-minute appeals to MPs appear to have fallen on deaf ears and how much she loses by could determine whether she tries again, loses office, delays Brexit - or if Britain even leaves the European Union at all.

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"We have a duty to do so if we are to keep faith with our voters", he said. Before the vote, pro-Brexit Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg announced: "I'll be voting against the withdrawal agreement because I don't believe it delivers Brexit".

That poses a question on how, and for how long, would they retain its 73 MEPs, as the parliament has already made a decision to reduce its numbers from 751 to 705 to reflect the UK's departure. "What was initially a binary in-out question has now given rise to a whole kaleidoscope of complex options and uncertain outcomes", he added.

"It could end up being the day that will lead to us leaving with no deal!" said 25-year-old Simon Fisher, who backs a swift and sharp break with the EU.

One placard read "EU Membership is the Best Deal", another said: "No Deal?". May's office has said she would respond quickly to any defeat, but has not set out how.

The DUP's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said that the letter from EU Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker "changes nothing".

In the wake of the historic Commons rejection of Theresa May's deal, Berlin's foreign minister Heiko Maas said there was no point extending the Article 50 process unless there was a clear "path" for how a settlement can be reached.

"The United Kingdom is on the edge of chaos - politically, economically and socially", he said.

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"Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy", she wrote.

May postponed a vote on the deal in December to avoid a resounding defeat, and there are few signs sentiment has changed significantly since then.

A second referendum, however, has been opposed by both May and main opposition leader Corbyn.

She has also warned fellow Conservatives not to let the opposition Labour Party seize control of Brexit.

MPs will vote on a motion of no confidence on Wednesday evening which could trigger a snap general election in the middle of a deep political crisis, with a no-deal Brexit looming in less than three months if politicians fail to agree an alternative.

Without a Brexit deal, Britain faces an abrupt break from the European Union, a scenario that economists warn could batter the British economy and bring chaotic scenes at borders, ports and airports.

If Parliament votes down the deal, May has until Monday to come up with a new proposal.

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