Theresa May survives no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat


Britain's second female prime minister likes to play up the image once painted of her as a "bloody hard woman" by Conservative Party grandee Kenneth Clarke - and is said by friends not to worry about being liked.

She did not have the chance to respond to the call, but Mrs May has repeatedly said she wants the United Kingdom to leave the European Union with a deal - although "no-deal" remains the legal fall back option if nothing can be agreed.

The defeat was widely expected, but the scale of the House of Commons' vote - 432 votes against the government and 202 in support - was devastating for May's fragile leadership.

Theresa May has survived an attempt to oust her as Prime Minister, as MPs rejected Jeremy Corbyn's motion of no confidence in the Government by a margin of 325 to 306.

She said: "It is hardly surprising that Parliament has overwhelmingly rejected the Prime Minister's Brexit plan".

May's Brexit agreement was created to keep trade rules between the world's fifth-biggest economy and its largest export market nearly unchanged for a transition period running through the end of 2020.

Political analyst Anand Menon, from the research group a Changing Europe, said May had a remarkable ability to soldier on.

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In the lead-up to Tuesday's crushing defeat, May's deal was criticized by politicians and pundits on all sides of the political spectrum. She has until Monday to present Parliament with a new Brexit deal.

But May urged lawmakers to listen to the British citizens who voted to leave the EU.

Mrs May has proposed a series of meetings with senior parliamentarians and Government representatives over the coming days to break the Brexit deal deadlock.

Of the many Brexit options on the table, we are none the wiser as to which can command the parliamentary majority that May seeks to secure.

"That's why I am inviting MPs from all parties to come together to find a way forward".

May, who postponed a Brexit vote in December to avoid certain defeat, had implored lawmakers to back her deal and deliver on voters' decision in 2016 to leave the EU.

Labour's strategy appeared to be to put May on the defensive, knowing full well that the no-confidence motion can not succeed, but moving past it will enable the party to put its weight behind the growing demand for another referendum on Brexit.

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If the motion had passed, it could have triggered a general election and a possible Labour take-over of government - which meant that many Conservatives were unwilling to cast a vote against May, even if they opposed her deal. His party wants a permanent customs union with the EU, a close relationship with its single market and greater protections for workers and consumers.

The prime minister's own backbenchers rebelled in huge numbers over the divorce deal, but the ringleaders said they would still back her in the confidence vote scheduled for around 6am on Thursday.

European leaders are now preparing for the worst, although German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was still time for further talks.

Though uncertainty surrounding Britain's exit from the European Union remains elevated, many in the markets think May's defeat by lawmakers Tuesday evening makes it less likely the country will crash out of the bloc on March 29 with no deal.

"For the first time in the history of my country, we've got Parliament against the people", Wyatt said, gesturing at the Palace of Westminster.

"It 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 told MPs. "It is the best possible compromise", Mr. Barnier said. May has also insisted she will not consider keeping the the EU's customs union, which allows the free movement of goods, an option Mr. Corbyn supports. It is a deal that satisfies no-one, and does not give the assurances that businesses have been asking for.

EU Council president Donald Tusk tweeted after the vote: "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?"

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