Labour gets ready for Brexit no-confidence vote
Meanwhile, British PM warns of catastrophe if lawmakers don’t back her deal
LONDON Get ready for a no-confidence vote, if British Prime Minister Theresa May suffers a heavy defeat over her Brexit deal in Parliament tomorrow.
That is the call opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has made to his MPs. The motion could possibly be tabled within hours of the Conservative government’s loss and the voting taking place on Wednesday, MPs were told.
The messages have been sent to the MPs, even those who are unwell, to ensure their presence both for the “meaningful vote” on Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint tomorrow and the following day, the Observer reported.
Under British electoral law, the Conservatives would have two weeks to try to form a new government after losing a confidence vote. Only after that would an election be called, Bloomberg reported.
If his move fails, Mr Corbyn will face pressure to back a second Brexit referendum.
A beleaguered Mrs May warned lawmakers that failure to back her plan to leave the European Union would be catastrophic for Britain, in a plea for support.
With the clock ticking down to its March 29 exit from the EU and Parliament deadlocked, Britain faces a hugely uncertain path that could lead to a disorderly exit or even remaining in the bloc, Reuters reported.
Mrs May, who postponed a vote in Parliament on her deal in December after admitting she was set to lose it, said lawmakers must not let down the people who backed Brexit in a June 2016 referendum.
“Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy,” she wrote in the Sunday Express.
“So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: It is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.”
Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay told BBC TV that persuading enough lawmakers to support the deal would be “challenging”, but even if it was rejected, he suspected Parliament would ultimately support something “along the lines of this deal”.
Mr Corbyn said leaving the EU without a deal would be catastrophic and his party would do everything it could to prevent that outcome, Reuters reported.
After a week in which Parliament forced the government to promise to come back with a “Plan B” within days if Mrs May’s deal is rejected, Mr Barclay said the risk of Parliament acting in a way that frustrates Brexit had increased.
The Sunday Times reported that rebel lawmakers were planning to wrest control of the legislative agenda away from Mrs May with a view to suspending or delaying Brexit, citing a senior government source.
Mr Vince Cable, the leader of the pro-EU Liberal Democrats, said Parliament would act to prevent a no-deal Brexit and could ultimately seek to prevent Brexit altogether.
Mr Cable said this could be done by revoking Article 50, the mechanism that triggered the exit process, or by holding a second referendum.
Mr Jeremy Corbyn has signalled Labour will trigger a no-confidence vote if Mrs May’s Brexit deal is rejected.