16/01/2019

Brexit: UK PM Facing No Confidence Vote After Huge Defeat

Prime Minister Theresa May's government will face a vote of no confidence later today after MP's voted down her Brexit deal.

The agreement setting out the terms of the UK's divorce from the EU was rejected by 230 votes last night, 15 January, prompting the Labour party to launch a bid to trigger a general election.

The confidence vote is expected to be held at around 7pm this evening, 16 January.

Mrs May assured the government she will return to Parliament next week with an alternative plan, provided that she survives the vote.

"The House has spoken and this government will listen," she said.

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists, who currently prop up the Conservative government, said they will support the Prime Minister despite voting down the Brexit deal.

Sammy Wilson MP said his party wanted a change in policy, not administrations, and that the EU had "hard questions to answer".

In a statement, DUP leader Arlene Foster added: "Parliament has acted in the best interests of the entire United Kingdom... the House of Commons has sent an unmistakable message to the Prime Minister and the European Union.

"We will work with the Government constructively to achieve a better deal. That is our focus. Whilst some may wish to use this defeat to boost their political ambitions, we will give the Government the space to set out a plan to secure a better deal."

The DUP's opposition to the deal stemmed from the backstop provision, a mechanism included to allow Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union during any transitional period to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the onus is now on the British government to propose a viable alternative to the withdrawal treaty.

He explained that the Irish government would not block any request from the UK for more time to come up with a Brexit deal, but there needs to be a plan for a "managed, controlled Brexit".

"I don't think the EU is in any mood to agree changes to the withdrawal treaty. We still have to see what the UK is looking for. We don't know what the British parliament will support."



(JG/CM)

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