British PM Theresa May survives no-confidence vote after Brexit deal defeat — as it happened | News | DW | 16.01.2019
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British PM Theresa May survives no-confidence vote after Brexit deal defeat — as it happened

Despite her Brexit deal suffering a massive defeat, British PM Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament. The clock is now ticking for May to rework her deal, but her changes might not be enough for MPs.

What you need to know: 

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May's government survived a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday, in a narrow vote of 325 to 306.
  • The vote followed party lines. Conservatives and the DUP supported May; Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and others opposed her government. 
  • May later pledged to identify and pursue a way forward "that can secure the backing of the House."
  • The vote comes a day after British lawmakers rejected a draft divorce deal to leave the European Union by a margin of more than 200.
  • May now has until Monday to present her plan on how to proceed and convince skeptical MPs.

Refresh the page for live updates. All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

22:00 In a short speech outside 10 Downing Street in London, May said the victory in the confidence vote "is now an opportunity to find a way forward on Brexit."

She acknowledged that the "last 24 hours have been unsettling for the public," but added that she believes it is her duty to deliver Brexit and that she "intends to do so."

May also said she has met with the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and the Welsh Plaid Cymru party. She noted that Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party who called for Wednesday's no-confidence vote, has yet to sit down with her, but her "door is always open."

She concluded her speech by calling on politicians to "put self-interest aside" and "act in the national interest."

21:00 May is due to give a statement from Downing Street shortly after 10:00 p.m. local time (2200 UTC).

20:45 May's government may have survived the no-confidence vote, but the battle over the Brexit impasse continues. Watch what Prime Minister May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had to say just after the no-confidence vote: 

20:17 May's spokesman said the prime minister was not willing to rule out a "no deal" Brexit situation — which is Corbyn's main condition for talks with the government.

"We want to leave with a deal, but she is determined to deliver on the verdict of the British public, and that is to leave the EU on March 29 this year," the spokesman said.

The Labour Party also dug in, with a party spokesman saying it would not hold substantive talks with the government until they take the "no deal" option off the table.

Read more: How EU leaders reacted to UK's Brexit deal vote

20:00  The upheaval over the Brexit deal in the UK has left many people in Germany and other EU-member states scratching their heads.

"It's sad to watch things fall apart like this. I don't think that the people really understood what they voted for," one woman in Berlin told DW.

19:35 Having survived the no-confidence vote, May now has until the beginning of next week to come up with a new Brexit strategy — and limited time to convince those who opposed her draft Brexit deal with the EU.

She will return on Monday to make a statement about the government's path forward, although analysts believe that any changes May makes to her deal will be minor, and not enough to sway skeptical MPs.

19:25 Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, outlined his stance going into the talks with May, saying that the government should rule out leaving the EU without a deal.

"Before there can be any positive discussions about the way forward, the government must remove clearly, once and for all, the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit and all the chaos that would come as a result from that," Corbyn said.

19:18 Immediately after narrowly surviving the no-confidence vote, Prime Minister Theresa May said that her government will seek a way forward with Brexit negotiations that gets the backing of Parliament. She invited parliamentary party leaders to meet with her individually, adding that the talks will start tonight.

"We must find solutions that are negotiable and command sufficient support in this house," May said. 

19:16 The votes in the House of Commons are in, and May's government has survived the no-confidence vote 325 to 306. 

19:00 Several hours of debate over the no-confidence motion against May's government has now finished and voting has started.

18:30 Commenting on the current political turmoil in the UK, the German daily taz released an image of its front page for Thursday, with the headline reading: "Brex Pistols: Anarchy in the UK."

17:50 Political analyst Nina Schick told DW that although there's a chance that the UK won't end up leaving the EU, the most likely result is that Britain will crash out of the bloc without any deal in place.

"The other outcome, which is potentially more disastrous — and in my opinion, actually more likely — is that there is no Brexit deal at all," Schick said.

She added that pressure is mounting on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to call a second referendum — and a win for the "Remain" campaign the second time around is far from certain.

17:40 Alex Burghart, a Conservative MP, wryly thanked the Labour Party for calling the vote of no-confidence because it has helped unite May's divided Conservatives — who have been split over Brexit negotiation strategies.

"I'm obviously not terribly delighted that we are having a vote of confidence on the Conservative government, but I suppose I might thank the opposition for bringing my party back together today," Burghart said.

16:45 A committee of British lawmakers called for a series of parliamentary votes on Brexit options in order to find a path that is supported by the majority. The Exiting the European Union Committee outlined four main Brexit options going forward — including holding a new referendum or renegotiating the draft divorce deal with specific changes in mind.

The committee also said that Parliament should be allowed to vote on extending Article 50 and pushing back the current exit date of March 29 if the government cannot reach an agreement in the remaining 10 weeks.

Watch video 02:41

British shop in Berlin closing due to Brexit

16:10 Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said that she will support May in tonight's no-confidence vote, saying that she was "disappointed" by the vote to reject the draft deal.

"It is my view that the best outcome remains leaving the EU on the most constructive terms possible, staying close for the economy and for security," Rudd wrote in a letter to her constituents posted on Twitter.

In December, Rudd said that there would be a "plausible argument" for a new referendum on leaving the EU if Parliament were to be deadlocked on the deal. May has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of a new Brexit referendum, although support for a fresh vote has been gaining ground.

15:40 Nigel Dodds with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said that the party will vote to back May's Conservative government despite concerns within the Northern Ireland party over May's Brexit strategy. The DUP are the party giving May's government a thin majority in Parliament.

"We will support the government tonight ... so that the prime minister has more time and has the space to focus now on acting in the national interest on Brexit and it's important that the prime minister now does listen," Dodds said.

The DUP are Northern Ireland's biggest party, but the only major party to support Brexit in a country that voted to remain in the EU.

Watch video 00:56

Reactions to Brexit impasse: "All anybody does is resign nowadays"

15:10 Vowing to stay put in her position despite her Brexit deal defeat, British Prime Minister Theresa May slammed the prospect of new parliamentary elections, saying it would likely lead to chaos.

A new vote "would deepen division when we need unity, it would bring chaos when we need certainty, and it would bring delay when we need to move forward," she said.

15:00 Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, opened the no-confidence debate in Parliament by saying May's government should "do the right thing and resign."

"There can be no doubt that this is a zombie government," Corbyn said, arguing that new elections would help "break the deadlock on Brexit" and usher in new ideas for solving domestic issues. Corbyn's critics allege that he is yet to present anything even resembling a workable alternative plan for Brexit.

14:50 As the British government faces a no confidence vote, DW has broken down what you need to know on how we got here:

Watch video 01:48

Brexit impasse a sign of hope for 'people's vote' backers

Brexit deal upheaval: Prime Minister May suffered a devastating blow to her Brexit strategy on Tuesday when British lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to reject her deal on leaving the European Union. The 432 to 202 vote was the biggest defeat for a government in modern British history. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, promptly called the no-confidence vote following Tuesday's result.

How has Europe reacted? The defeat of the draft divorce deal sent shockwaves across Europe, with leaders across the bloc preparing for the likelihood of a "no deal" Brexit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that there was still time for talks on the deal and that "we are now waiting to see what the British prime minister proposes."

What happens now that May has survived? Now that she has survived the vote of no-confidence, May has until the beginning of next week to present a new plan to Parliament. Analysts believe that May is unlikely to secure major changes to the draft deal already agreed with the EU.

Watch video 00:44

Merkel: 'It is now up to the British side to say what happens next'

rs/msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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