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Brexit: Corbyn tables confidence vote after May's humiliating defeat

16 January, 2019, 22:14 | Author: Sara Gill
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May also held a meeting in the House of Commons with her own Conservative MPs, urging them to support her deal.

Responding to the Government defeat, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: "Brexit is becoming a national humiliation".

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately called for a vote of no-confidence in the government that will be debated, and most likely voted on, in parliament on Wednesday.

With May dead-set against a second referendum, and the opposition Labour Party not committed to one (but not ruling one out), a second referendum would need either a change in prime minister, a change in government, or an abrupt change in policy. May will meet with her cabinet ahead of the vote, and may be called on to resign, given the scale of the defeat. A new referendum can be called only if it is approved by parliament.

If Corbyn wins the vote and a new government can not command the support of the majority of MPs within 14 calendar days, parliament is dissolved and a general election is triggered. "Nothing about how, if even, it intends to honour the British people's decision", May said.

The vote plunges the already divided country deeper into turmoil as it tries to solve several key issues in the Brexit process.

Their intervention comes after May's last-ditch attempt to get her MPs to support the deal, which is widely expected to be defeated in Tuesday's "meaningful vote".

Some of the hardline Brexiteers, including former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, former Brexit Secretary David Davis and staunch Remainer MP Anna Soubry, openly said they would reject the deal. Labour legislator Tulip Siddiq delayed the scheduled cesarean birth of her son so she could attend, arriving in a wheelchair.

Two and a half years after the referendum, Britain remains divided over how, and whether, to leave the EU.

Pro- and anti-Brexit campaigners rallied outside parliament as the last day of debate kicked off around 1300 GMT. One group waved blue-and-yellow European Union flags, the other brandished "Leave Means Leave" placards.


Try again: The British government and European Union leaders say their agreement is the best compromise available, and despite her landmark defeat, May said on Tuesday it remained the only option.

"That is why I believe that the agreement is as it stands and will not be substantially changed, but that, if things go wrong tonight, there will certainly be talks again".

On Monday, she asked MPs to "give this deal a second look" before the key vote.

May, who leads a fragile Conservative minority government, has made delivering Brexit her main task since taking office in 2016 after the country's decision to leave the EU.

The deal was originally scheduled for a parliament vote in December, but due to strong opposition, May postponed it to January 15.

As their nation's fate was being decided, hundreds of noisy supporters and opponents of Brexit, some banging drums and others driving floats with huge dolls mocking top United Kingdom politicians, rallied outside the ancient parliament building in London. Economists warn that an abrupt break from the European Union could batter the British economy and bring chaotic scenes at borders, ports and airports.

In the 30 years before it was signed, clashes between unionists and republicans - known simply as the Troubles - took the lives of more than 3,600 people.

"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?" Associated Press writers Danica Kirka in London and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed.

Casert reported from Strasbourg, France.

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