The British parliament voted overwhelmingly against Prime Minister Theresa May’s agreement with the European Union on Tuesday, prompting the opposition to present a memorandum of confidence to its government.
The House of Commons deputies rejected a majority of 432 votes to 202 of May’s agreement with the European Union to regulate Britain’s exit from the bloc it joined five decades ago in one of the biggest defeats of a British prime minister.
The EU has warned that the vote, which sinks Britain into the unknown, exacerbates the risk of the country leaving the EU without agreement.
Shortly after the vote, Labor opposition leader Jeremy Corbin presented a no-confidence motion for the government.
“I made a no-confidence motion for this government”, he said, describing the government’s defeat as “catastrophic”.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will face a no-confidence motion on Wednesday that could bring down her government after a crushing defeat in parliament, which overwhelmingly rejected a vote on an EU exit deal.
After this historic vote, Britain will sink into the unknown about its future two and a half months ahead of the upcoming Brexit on March 29.
Shortly after the vote was announced on Tuesday evening, Labor opposition leader Jeremy Corbin presented a no-confidence motion for the government, describing the result as “catastrophic”.
But his initiative has no chance of success; because May’s conservative party and his ally Northern Ireland’s Conservative Little Party do not want the Labor Party to replace them.
As of Tuesday evening, the Unionist Party and several MPs opposed to May in the Conservative Party announced they would support the prime minister.
But the conservative daily Mail said its fate was “hanging on a thread”.
The Paris Times columnist, Matthew Paris, said it was time for opposition parliamentarians to take over the BREXIT issue.
“There is no leadership, neither within the government nor in the opposition, able to help us get out of this quagmire”, he wrote.
The vote on the no-confidence vote is expected at 19:00 GMT.
If adopted, it will form a new government with the confidence of parliament within 14 days.
If it fails, new legislative elections will be called.
If May is to remain in office, she will have until Monday to present an “alternative plan”.
There are several options available to it, such as a pledge to return to negotiations in Brussels or a postponement of Brexit’s deadline.
May had addressed deputies before the vote, saying they had to apply what the British voted for in the 2016 referendum.
“I think it is incumbent upon us to implement the democratic decision of the British people”, she warned, warning MPs that the EU would not offer an “alternative agreement”.
May said the vote against this agreement is “a vote in favor of suspicion and division and in the interest of the real danger of the lack of agreement”.
“The responsibility of each of us at this time is very great, because it is a historic decision that will determine the future of our country for generations”, she said.
About two months before the March 29 departure from the European Union, Britain remains deeply divided over what should happen next.
It will now be up to May to decide whether to ask for a new vote, to be fired, to delay Brexit, or whether Brexit will actually get it.
A number of supporters and opponents of the Brexit gathered in front of parliament as the last day of discussion began.
Some carried a banner reading “EU membership is the best agreement” while others wrote “No agreement?
The opposition to the agreement forced May to postpone the vote in December in the hope of getting concessions from Brussels.
EU leaders gave only a series of clarifications, but German Foreign Minister Haikou Mas hinted in Strasbourg on Tuesday that more talks could be held, although he ruled out renegotiating the agreement.
“If the agreement is impossible, and everyone wants an agreement, then who will have the courage to say what is the only positive solution?”
European Union President Donald Tusk called on British leaders to reconsider their strategy on Brexit.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker from Strasbourg went to Brussels Tuesday to “manage things after the vote”, his office said.
EU lawmakers who campaign for a second referendum say they have received death threats.
Brexit supporters also expressed growing frustration at what they saw as a parliamentary hurdle to their democratic vote in the referendum.
Criticism of the agreement is focused on the arrangement that keeps the border open with Ireland through Britain’s adherence to EU trade rules, until London and Brussels sign a new economic partnership, which could take many years.
Sami Wilson, a spokesman for Brexit in the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, on which May relies mostly on the House of Commons, told the BBC that his party would not be forced to support the deal because of border concerns.
Speculation on both sides of the Channel is growing that May will ask for a deferral of the Brexit.
But a diplomatic source told AFP that any extension would not be possible after June 30 when the new European Parliament is formed.
The withdrawal plan includes plans for the transition after Brexit until a new partnership is established in exchange for ongoing budget contributions from London.
Without it, if there is no delay, Britain will cut off 46-year-old relations with its closest neighbors without an agreement that would ease the impact of the strike.
It is worth mentioning that the rejection of the text of Brexit will open to Britain the possibility of an exit from the European Union without an agreement, which is feared by the economic circles.
May, known for her hardness and perseverance and convinced that she will escape the no-confidence motion, has said she will hold talks with lawmakers from all parties “in a constructive mind” to figure out the path to follow.
“We have to focus on ideas that will actually be negotiable and have sufficient support from this council”, she told parliamentarians, promising to “explore their chances then with the EU”.
But the task seems difficult.
British MPs have so far been unable to agree on the conditions for exiting the EU and their future relationship with the bloc, and there has been a division between those who want to exit definitively and those who maintain close ties with Europe.
Boris Johnson, a former foreign minister and the most vocal supporter of Brexit, said the vote gave Theresa May a “strong mandate” to return and negotiate with the European Union.
But it is not certain that Brussels will be ready for this scenario.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated Tuesday that the deal, which he rejected “was a fair settlement and the best possible agreement” before he said that “the risks of obtaining Brexit without agreement have increased”.
“It is now up to the British government to say what the next stage is”, said the European chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier.
“The EU is still united and determined to reach an agreement”.
Ireland, for its part, said it had stepped up preparations for an “out of agreement” and called on London to make proposals “out of this impasse”.
In the business community, concern remains high.
“Financial stability should not be threatened by a political maneuver”, said Catherine McGuinness, a senior official in London’s business district.