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05 October, 2023
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May wins confidence vote

British PM May survives party confidence vote but Brexit deal still teetering

Source: Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a confidence vote by the Conservative Party on Wednesday, but a mutiny by more than a third of her lawmakers indicated parliament was heading toward deadlock over Brexit.

While 200 Conservative lawmakers voted in support of May as leader, 117 dissented, indicating opposition not only from several dozen supporters of a hard Brexit but also from many more pragmatic lawmakers - and signaling that she was no nearer to passing her EU divorce agreement.

It was not the robust affirmation she needed as she heads to Brussels on Thursday to ask the other 27 EU leaders, who have made room for her at a summit, for clarification of the deal to reassure the doubters.

On Monday, May had canceled a parliamentary vote on her deal, struck after two years of negotiations and designed to maintain close future ties with the bloc, after admitting it would be heavily defeated.

With Britain due to leave the EU on March 29, parliament’s opposition has suddenly opened up possibilities including a potentially disorderly exit with no deal or even another referendum on membership.

Speaking in Downing Street after the vote, May said she would listen to those who had voted against her and seek legal assurances on the most controversial part of her deal - an insurance policy to prevent a hard border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland. Many in her party fear that these “backstop” measures could last indefinitely.

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