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Brexit

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tables no-confidence motion against PM Theresa May in parliament, after she delays Brexit vote

  • Even if successful, the no-confidence vote would not automatically lead to Theresa May’s downfall, if she retains majority support among ruling Conservatives
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 4:52am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 7:36am

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has demanded that Prime Minister Theresa May give MPs the opportunity to vote on whether they have confidence in her after she delayed the showdown on her Brexit deal to January.

Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in Theresa May on Monday evening. While the government is not obliged to schedule a confidence vote before Christmas, the Labour leader said a refusal to do so would demonstrate that May was unable to command the confidence of the House of Commons.

He told the Commons it was “very clear that it’s bad, unacceptable that we should be waiting almost a month before we have a meaningful vote” on May’s Brexit deal.

Corbyn accused May of having “obdurately refused to ensure a vote took place on the date she agreed” and of further refusing to hold one before Christmas. Instead, May has said the Brexit vote will be held in the week commencing January 14. “This is unacceptable in any way whatsoever,” Corbyn said.

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He added that the motion he intended to table, aimed specifically at the prime minister and not at the government as a whole, was “the only way I can think of ensuring a vote takes place this week”.

“If she refuses, it is clear that she does not believe she retains the confidence of this house,” Corbyn’s spokesman said.

The move came after May announced the revised date for the meaningful vote. Labour had promised to push for a no-confidence vote in the prime minister if she failed to name a date, so that threat seemed to have dissipated. But Corbyn announced his intention to table the motion as the debate closed.

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House of Commons authorities said the government will decide whether the motion is debated and voted on, but noted it is “parliamentary convention that any such request be granted”.

But even if successful it would not automatically trigger May’s downfall, so long as he retains majority support in the ruling Conservative party.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse