Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | ePaper

May's defeat and fate of Brexit deal

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BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been defeated in the Parliament. It's the worst parliamentary defeat for a British government since the 1920s. The MPs have voted down Mrs May's "Brexit divorce deal" by a crushing margin, triggering political upheaval that could lead to a disorderly exit from the European Union or even to a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave. British PM had called for politicians to back her deal or risk "letting the British people down". The massive defeat will mean further turmoil for British politics before the country is due to leave the EU on March 29.
What's interesting is that, the result was widely expected though it was devastating for Mrs May. Her fragile leadership is now under siege as her two-year strategy of forging an amicable divorce with the EU collapses. Immediately after the vote, Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government, calling the defeat "catastrophic". He said: "After two years of failed negotiations the House of Commons has delivered its verdict on her Brexit deal and that verdict is absolutely decisive".
What would happen in Britain? There are several possible outcomes now. One possibility is that, Mrs May could resign as leader of the Conservative Party, triggering an internal contest to replace her without a general election. But it would not be so easy. She had defeated an attempt to oust her as leader of the Conservative Party in December last winning a confidence vote, which means her position as party leader is assured, as she cannot be challenged until the end of 2019. Another possibility is that, if a majority of MPs vote against her government, the opposition Labour Party would have 14 days to gain votes that it could command a majority to form its own government. If Mrs May's government loses a confidence vote and Labour is unable to form a new government, then Mrs May could also call a general election herself if two-thirds of MPs agree to it.
However, these are only possibilities. Nothing is certain in politics, especially in British politics.

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