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After Brexit Deal Rejection, UK PM Theresa May To Face No-Confidence Motion Today

May's bid to get the Withdrawal Agreement, struck between London and Brussels, through a House of Commons was defeated by a margin of 202 to 432.

After Brexit Deal Rejection, UK PM Theresa May To Face No-Confidence Motion Today
UK Prime Minister Theresa May | File Photo
After Brexit Deal Rejection, UK PM Theresa May To Face No-Confidence Motion Today
outlookindia.com
2019-01-16T20:37:18+05:30

In a humiliating defeat for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May, her divisive divorce deal with the European Union was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs, triggering a no-confidence motion against her government.

May's bid to get the Withdrawal Agreement, struck between London and Brussels, was rejected by 432 votes to 202 - a majority of 230, the biggest defeat ever suffered by a British premier in modern history.

Within minutes after the defeat of the Brexit deal in the House of Commons, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he has tabled a formal motion of confidence in the government, backed by other opposition leaders, which MPs would vote later on Wednesday.

Corbyn described Prime Minister May's defeat "catastrophic" and said backing the "botched and damaging" deal would be a "reckless leap in the dark" for the UK.

Britain is set to exit the 28-member European Union, which it joined in 1973, on March 29. With just over two months to go until the scheduled departure on March 29, Britain is still undecide on what to do.

May, 62, has spent two years negotiating the divorce plan aimed at bringing about an orderly Brexit and setting up a 21- month transition period to negotiate a free-trade deal with Brussels.

Her deal included both the withdrawal agreement on the terms on which the UK leaves the EU and a political declaration for the future relationship.

But it faced opposition across Parliament, from MPs who want either a further referendum, a closer relationship with Europe, to stop Brexit altogether or the UK to leave without a deal.

May, who survived a no-confidence vote by her own Conservative Party in December, has told MPs she will return to the Commons with an alternative plan next week, provided she survives the confidence vote.

The EU and European governments warned Tuesday that the British parliament's rejection of a Brexit deal heightened the risk of a disorderly withdrawal from the bloc.

Following are some of the key reactions to the vote against the agreement.

"I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up," -- European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

 "If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?" EU Council president Donald Tusk, who added the remaining EU27 "will remain united".

From the shock Brexit referendum result to Tuesday's landmark vote to reject the divorce deal struck between London and the European Union, here are the milestones on Britain's rocky road out of the bloc after 46 years.

Britons vote to leave 

In a referendum on June 23, 2016, Britons choose to end their membership of the 28-nation EU by 52 percent to 48 percent.

It prompts the resignation the next day of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, who had called the referendum and led the campaign to remain in the EU.

May becomes prime minister

In a race to replace Cameron, key Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson does not put himself forward as expected and Theresa May, the interior minister who had backed remaining in the bloc, becomes prime minister on July 13.

On January 17, 2017, May gives a speech setting out her Brexit strategy, saying Britain will also leave Europe's single market in order to control EU immigration.

She warns she would be willing to walk away from negotiations with the EU, saying: "No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain."

 Exit process triggered

On March 13, Britain's parliament gives final approval to a bill empowering May to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty which lays out the process for leaving the union.

With a letter to EU President Donald Tusk on March 29 formally announcing the intention to leave, the government sets Article 50 in motion.
Its two-year timetable for withdrawal puts Britain on course to exit on March 29, 2019.

Lost majority 

To capitalise on the perceived weakness of the main opposition Labour party and strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations, May calls a snap general election for June 8, 2017.

Her gamble backfires as the Conservatives lose their parliamentary majority. They are forced to strike a support deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to govern.

The issue of British guarantees to keep an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit becomes a key sticking point in negotiations.

 First terms agreed 

Britain and the EU reach an outline agreement on December 8 on three key areas of the divorce: Britain's financial settlement to the union, citizens' rights and the Irish border.

EU leaders give the go-ahead for the next stage of Brexit talks, including on how Britain will continue to trade with the bloc after the split.

A bill enacting the decision to leave the EU becomes law on June 26, 2018.

Top ministers quit 

On July 6, 2018, May wins agreement from her warring cabinet to pursue "a UK-EU free trade area" that would retain a strong alignment with the EU after Brexit.

But two days later David Davis, the eurosceptic Brexit minister, quits saying May is giving "too much away too easily".

Johnson, now foreign secretary, resigns on July 9, becoming a leading critic of May's plans.

EU leaders meeting in Salzburg on September 19 and 20 tell May that her Brexit proposals are unacceptable and need to be reworked.

Draft deal agreed

The EU on November 13 publishes contingency plans for a "no-deal" Brexit.

But a few hours later, May's office says negotiating teams have reached a draft agreement for the divorce.

On November 14, her cabinet backs the agreement.

However the following day four ministers, including new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, quit in protest.

EU leaders approve the accord on November 25. "This is the only deal possible," says European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Confidence vote 
May's deal faces intense criticism in parliament over the "backstop" provision designed to prevent border checks in Ireland.

On December 10, May postpones a House of Commons vote on the deal due the following day, acknowledging she faced a heavy defeat.

She heads off to Europe for further talks, but EU leaders reject any substantive renegotiation.

On December 12, May's Conservative party announces that enough MPs are unhappy with her leadership to trigger a confidence vote.

But the embattled leader survives the challenge, securing the backing of 200 colleagues, while 117 voted against her.

British MPs reject deal

The House of Commons, Britain's lower house, finally got its chance to vote Tuesday on the draft withdrawal agreement that May struck with EU leaders in December.

With opposition parties and scores of Conservatives rejecting it for various reasons, MPs voted by 432 to 202 to reject the agreement.

The government faces a vote of no confidence on Wednesday.

(With inputs from AFP)

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