UK Prime Minister Theresa May survives confidence vote over Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday survived a confidence vote by her own MPs but lost the support of one third of her own party, signalling the battle she still faces to get her Brexit deal through parliament.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street after a confidence vote by Conservative Party Members of Parliament (MPs), in London on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street after a confidence vote by Conservative Party Members of Parliament (MPs), in London on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday survived a confidence vote by her own MPs but lost the support of one third of her own party, signaling the battle she still faces to get her Brexit deal through parliament.

May won the backing of 200 Conservative lawmakers, but 117 voted to oust her.

No-confidence vote was a move by MPs of PM May’s own Tory party brought upon her on the 12th of December when she was trying hard for reassurances from the EU on the Northern Ireland backstop arrangement.

It is this backstop arrangement that has been the nemesis of the Brexit deal that May is trying to push through, which has been ratified by 27 EU states.

Backstop is like an insurance policy to keep an open border in the island of Ireland which can be resorted to win the eventuality of UK leaving the EU without securing an all-encompassing deal. Practically it means that one might not be able to trade without checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, unlike it is now.

Some feel very strongly about this as it challenges the intregrity of the British Union. Parliament was to vote on the Brexit deal with backstop option on the December 11 when May cancelled the vote and went back to Brussles to get assurances that backstop will be a “temporary” arrangement.

PM May said they were making great progress and EU was “determined” to resolve the Irish matter when the news of no-confidence took over everything and instead of going to Ireland she was back in a London fighting for her survival.

Just before the elected members of her party were to vote on the no-confidence motion on the night of 12th of December Theresa May gave a passionate speech in which she promised not to lead the party in 2022 elections. Some believe this contributed to her win.

After the vote PM May while addressing the press outside 10 Downing Street renewed her resolve of, “Delivering the Brexit that people voted for …and putting the country back together.”

Now that May has retained her premiership and cannot be challenged for another year, its back to Brexit business as usual. She is headed straight to Brussels on the 13th of December to continue her talks with the EU states on “assurances” on backstop arrangement. The next litmus test for her is not too far off. All eyes are on the arrangement she comes back with from Brussels and then it is the big vote on it by the parliament.