Embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May survived a motion of no confidence brought by members of her Conservative Party.
Brexit, or Britain’s exit from the union of 28 states, was officially initiated last March by London following a divisive 2016 referendum.
May reached a withdrawal agreement with the EU this month, but on Monday she delayed a parliament vote scheduled for Tuesday on the deal because most MPs were expected to reject it.
Instead of holding the ballot, she travelled to Brussels seeking amendments to her deal.
On Wednesday morning, the vote of no confidence was announced. By evening she had survived with the backing of 200 Conservatives for her and 117 against.
Here are all the latest updates:
Thursday, December 13
Brexit vote will happen next month, before January 21: Spokeswoman
A spokeswoman for May said the prime minister will put her Brexit deal to a vote in parliament as soon as possible in January, and definitely before January 21.
“I can confirm that the meaningful vote will not take place before Christmas but it will happen as soon as possible when the House [parliament] returns, and obviously before January 21,” the spokeswoman said.
Parliament returns from its Christmas break on January 7.
May’s confidence vote win doesn’t change Brexit arithmetic: DUP
A senior member of a Northern Irish political party that props up May said her survival in a vote of confidence did not change the situation in parliament where her Brexit plan faces stiff opposition.
“I don’t think this vote really changes very much in terms of the arithmetic on that and that’s our concern,” Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party told BBC television.
The DUP has an agreement to support May’s Conservatives in parliament but it is deeply opposed to a key part of the Brexit deal she agreed with other EU leaders last month – the so-called backstop arrangement for the border between EU member state Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.
Dodds said he held a “good meeting” with May before the confidence vote in the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee.
“She understands what, I think, our concerns are about the legally binding nature of the indefinite arrangements that we would be tied into and the difficulties that would pose for Northern Ireland,” he said.
“Whether or not she delivers anything that changes that remains to be seen,” Dodds said.
PM survives vote of confidence
May survived a secret vote of confidence on her leadership of the Conservative Party triggered by rebel MPs disgruntled by her Brexit deal.
Of the Conservatives’ 317 members of parliament, 200 voted in support of May during the poll on Wednesday evening, while 117 went against her.
The vote took place after Conservative Party MPs reached the threshold of 48 demands needed to trigger a confidence ballot on May’s leadership.
Read more here.
Wednesday, December 12
May tells party she plans to quit before 2022 election: MPs
May told a meeting of legislators in the ruling Conservative party she will not call a snap election before the next scheduled vote that is due in 2022, but she will quit before then, according to two legislators who attended the meeting.
Alec Shelbrooke told reporters: “Her opening remarks were ‘I am not going to hold a snap election’. She said that she did not intend to lead us into the 2022 election.”
George Freeman, another MP, said on Twitter: “Powerful & moving moment in the #1922 as the PM makes clear that she has has listened, heard & respects the will of the Party that once she has delivered an orderly Brexit, she will step aside for the election of a new Leader to lead the reunification & renewal we need. Respect.”
European Parliament: Brexit deal ‘not open to renegotiation’
The European Parliament has issued a statement saying the Brexit deal brokered between May and European Union officials is “not open to renegotiation”.
“The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration are fair and balanced and represent, given EU principles, current UK red lines and the commitments set out in the Good Friday Agreement, the only deal possible to ensure an orderly withdrawal from the European Union,” the statement said.
The Conference reiterated that without a backstop Parliament would not give its consent to the Withdrawal Agreement … [and] its support for as close as possible future EU-UK relationship such that the deployment of the backstop would not be necessary,” it added.
The statement was drawn up by the parliament’s governing body, the Conference of Presidents, in coordination with its Brexit Steering Group.
May urges party support in no-confidence vote
May is speaking to dozens of Conservative lawmakers, less than half an hour before a no-confidence vote among them that will decide her fate.
May was greeted by table banging as she entered a room in the House of Commons to address backbenchers.
That is a customary sign of approval, but May faces a tough crowd that includes rivals such as former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis.
Both are among critics of May’s Brexit deal with the European Union.
Tory Brexiteers are hoping to topple May in Wednesday evening’s vote. She is making a last-minute appeal, saying ditching her now would plunge the country into even more uncertainty.
One lawmaker who attended, James Cleverly, said May “made it very clear that there is a job of work to be done [on Brexit] and this is a delay and a distraction”.
‘No renegotiation’ of Brexit deal, says Paris
There will be “no renegotiation” of the Brexit divorce deal concluded between the European Union and Britain, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Wednesday.
“There will be no renegotiation,” he told the French National Assembly as May fights to sell the deal to the British parliament.
“There were long negotiations lasting several months that ended with a text agreed by both parties, which was to have been submitted yesterday to the British parliament, and which the British prime minister decided to hold back because of lack of support,” Le Drian said.
The key stumbling block is the so-called “backstop” which aims to avoid the return of a “hard border” between the two Irelands, he added.
May is to meet Thursday in Brussels with leaders of the 27 remaining EU leaders to discuss the deal, “but there will be no renegotiation” of the deal, Le Drian said.
“Observations might be made, and, as you know, the prime minister is in trouble with her own party and faces a confidence vote this evening so we are looking at a complex situation,” he added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also told the German parliament on Wednesday that the Brexit deal would not be amended.
May will raise parliament backstop row at EU summit: spokesman
May will take the opportunity to discuss with other EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday the message parliament has given about the Brexit deal, her spokesman said on Wednesday.
He said May would use a planned trip to an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss the situation in parliament, which has reacted with anger over the so-called backstop arrangement for Northern Ireland.
“It is obviously an opportunity for the PM to address the 27 [other EU leaders] about the message that the House of Commons has sent about wanting more assurances about the backstop,” he said.
“It’s a good opportunity to discuss that at leader level.”
Scottish leader criticises May’s party over Brexit ‘chaos’
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today’s move by Conservative members of parliament to trigger a vote of confidence on May was a “stark reminder that the UK is facing chaos and crisis entirely because of a vicious civil war within the Tory party”.
“What a self-centred bunch they are. They all need to go, not just the PM,” she said on Twitter.
Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party has called on the main opposition Labour Party to follow through with an earlier threat to table a parliamentary no-confidence motion against May.
Cameron backs May ahead of key Brexit vote
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his support for May, the incumbent leader, as she prepares to face a vote of confidence by parliamentary colleagues from her ruling Conservative Party.
“I hope Conservative MPs will back the PM in the vote today. We need no distractions from seeking the best outcome with our neighbours, friends and partners in the EU,” Cameron said on Twitter.
As prime minister, Cameron initiated the UK’s 2016 referendum on membership of the EU, which saw 52 percent of Britons opt to quit the bloc.
Having argued in favour of the UK remaining in the EU, he swiftly resigned in the wake of the leave result.
Betting odds indicate May will win no-confidence vote
The betting odds have shifted sharply towards May surviving a no-confidence vote on Wednesday after a leadership contest was called by legislators unhappy with her handling of Britain’s departure from the European Union.
The shift comes after a flurry of bets that she will win the vote and more than 158 Conservative Party MPs publicly backed the prime minister.
The likelihood that May will the win the vote has risen to 89 percent, according to bookmakers William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes.
Earlier in the day, William Hill said there was a 60 percent chance she will survive and Paddy Power gave odds of 71 percent.
“The money suggests that Theresa May will survive today’s vote,” said Rupert Adams, a William Hill spokesman. “But things remain bleak and we fully expect her to leave office in 2019.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to fight for her political future with “everything I’ve got” as the UK’s bid to depart the European Union descends into a deepening political crisis.
Members of May’s ruling Conservative Party reached the threshold of 48 demands needed to trigger a confidence vote in her leadership.
If May loses, her successor would be chosen from existing Conservative MPs and would automatically become prime minister.
But if she wins, she will be immune to further challenges for a year. The result is due around 21:00 GMT.
Embattled PM issues Brexit warning to party members
In a stark warning to Brexit-supporting opponents who instigated the challenge, May said if they toppled her then the EU exit would be delayed, perhaps even stopped.
A new leader would not have time to renegotiate a deal with the EU and secure parliamentary approval by the end of March, meaning the Article 50 withdrawal notice would have to be extended or rescinded, she said.
“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 said.
“Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division just as we should be standing together to serve our country.”
According to the rules, May could be toppled if a simple majority of Conservative MPs vote against her. At least 153 of her 315 Conservative MPs had expressed public support for her by 12:55 GMT.
German government approves Brexit legislation
Germany’s cabinet has approved legislation to protect British residents’ rights in the country in the event of a no-deal Brexit and to make the country a more attractive location for banks seeking to relocate.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said ministers have approved a bill safeguarding the German health insurance, unemployment insurance and pension status of British citizens living in Germany and German citizens living in Britain at the time of Brexit.
Another German bill foresees loosening the requirement for banks to justify why they’re ending a contract with a highly paid employee deemed to be a “bearer of risk,” such as heads of department or high-volume traders.
Germany has much more restrictive rules on dismissing workers than Britain, which is seen as a disincentive for Britain-based banks to shift operations to Frankfurt.
British currency jumps as BBC forecasts May to win vote
The British pound jumped on Wednesday after the BBC reported that a majority of Conservative Party MPs were set to back May in a no-confidence vote.
At about 13:30 GMT, the pound advanced to $1.2579, having earlier hit a fresh 20-month low at $1.2478. The pound recovered to 90.18 pence versus the euro.
According to the BBC, May was set to win the vote with at least 158 Conservative MPs – more than 50 percent of those eligible – having pledged their support for the embattled premier.
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