Could Theresa May Be Toppled As UK Prime Minister In Two Days?

Could Theresa May Be Toppled As UK Prime Minister In Two Days?

Kerry Wise
December 13, 2018

"If we can't go forwards with her deal. then I'm afraid the only way to change the policy is to change the prime minister and I really think it's her duty to go", Brexit-supporting Conservative lawmaker Steve Baker said. Brexit is not on the agenda - instead the EU's long-term budget, single market, migration and external relations are up for discussion - but should the vote not go Mrs May's way, she could look to secure concessions in Brussels.

All signs had pointed to a big defeat for the prime minister on Tuesday - a result that could sink May's deal, her leadership, or both.

Among the problems with the deal mentioned in the summary of the report are the backstop - the mechanism created to ensure there is no return to a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, which is the part of the deal that has been severely criticized by lawmakers. This is essential to prevent a renewal of violence in the region.

The House of Commons Speaker's office said May would make a previously unscheduled statement to lawmakers about Brexit at about 3:30 p.m.

The move thrusts Britain's exit from the European Union into further confusion, with possible options including a disorderly no-deal Brexit, another referendum on EU membership, or a last minute renegotiation of May's deal with Brussels. We will not renegotiate the deal that is on the table right now.

If the government succeeds in putting off the vote it might not happen until January, which would add to fears that the United Kingdom could pass the March 29 Brexit deadline without a Brexit deal, which the government has warned would result in severe economic damage.

The environment secretary, who is expected to close the five-day Brexit debate on Tuesday, insisted: "The vote is going ahead". "I think what is important, as she said at a number of occasions, is getting the reassurances that the House needs so we will be led by that process", May's spokesperson told reporters.

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The leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party - which has helped keep May's Conservatives in power through a confidence and supply agreement - said before the parliamentary session that she had told May to scrap the backstop in the Brexit deal.

The vote could take place next week or even be delayed until early January, although this would allow less time for the ensuing Brexit legislation to be passed through parliament before 29 March.

Pressed on when the vote would be held, May simply said under existing legislation it had to be held by January 21, 2019.

"The government is in disarray", he said in the House of Commons.

Some have also floated the idea of a second referendum on the question of Britain's European Union membership but the government is firmly opposed to that.

But Johnson used a column in the Sun on Sunday to argue that "the best way to get a great deal is to prepare for no deal" by rejecting May's draft.