As May survives no confidence vote, she faces familiar Brexit options

As May survives no confidence vote, she faces familiar Brexit options

So what happens NOW? As May survives the vote of no confidence, she faces a familiar set of options to try and deliver Brexit

  • Theresa May has won a confidence vote in the House of Commons in the aftermath of losing her Brexit deal  
  • May survived last night’s historic defeat in the Brexit vote in the Commons despite losing by a landslide
  • The Prime Minister must now outline a plan B for Brexit within days and is expected to fly to Brussels 
  • But the Brexit drama could play out in an almost unlimited number of ways as MPs try and seize control 
  • May could try to renegotiate with Brussels and hold the showdown vote on the deal for a second time
  • But she could be ousted by another confidence vote or even try to call a general election or a new referendum

Theresa May tonight survived a motion of no confidence after last night’s drubbing over her deal but must now somehow find a coalition of support for something.

The real question is what the Prime Minister wants to do and whether or not MPs will let her. Several scenarios would involve a delay to Brexit Day on March 29 as time is fast running out to get the necessary laws passed.

Today’s confidence vote changes little and Mrs May will be back in Parliament on Monday to set out her version of Plan B.

But whatever that plan is, it will have to be tested in a new round of votes by MPs – and they will be able to table a new round of amendments outlining alternative plans.   

There is an almost unlimited number of possible scenarios of what might happen in the aftermath of last night’s defeat. 

Moments after last night’s devastating 432 to 202 defeat, Mrs May insisted she would ‘deliver’ Brexit for Leave voters but critics believe the vote has left her power and authority draining away. 

Here are some of the ways the next stage of the Brexit drama might play out:   

There is an almost unlimited number of possible scenarios of what might happen in the aftermath of May’s defeat. This flow chart sketches out some of the most likely scenarios

Theresa May (pictured today at PMQs) has survived a motion of no confidence after last night’s drubbing over her deal but must now somehow find a coalition of support for something 

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    1. May renegotiates with Brussels and wins a second meaningful vote

    This appears to be the Government’s current strategy. Now MPs have voted down the deal and Mrs May has survived a confidence vote, the PM will fly to Brussels to ask for help.

    She either gets some new concessions or the EU says there really is nothing else. The PM is expected to ask again for a hard deadline on the lifetime of the backstop. 

    While the negotiations continue, it is expected that the stock and financial markets will fall – with the losses likely to build the longer it takes. 

    Either way, Mrs May comes back to the Commons and asks MPs to vote again – and wins as rebels back down in the face of no deal chaos and plunging markets.   

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      2. May renegotiates with Brussels but loses a second vote – triggering a confidence vote and a new Tory PM who orders a second referendum

      Mrs May’s deal is defeated a second time in the Commons and Labour immediately calls another vote of confidence in the Government – which this time is lost as Tory remain rebels fight to avoid a no deal Brexit.

      Mrs May resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced in a quickfire Tory leadership contest. The winner is installed in No 10 but warned by the DUP the deal is still unacceptable.

      Admitting there is no way to win a confidence vote and no renegotiation with Brussels, the new PM orders a second referendum on contesting her deal or Brexit with no deal at all. 

      This would require whoever is Prime Minister to delay Brexit by extending the Article 50 process. 

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        3. May’s Brexit deal is rejected a second time in the House of Commons – she resigns and the new Prime Minister calls for a General Election to break the impasse 

        Mrs May resigns immediately after her deal is rejected by the House of Commons for a second time. She stays on long enough in No 10 for a Tory leadership contest.

        The new Prime Minister declares they want a mandate for their own version of Brexit and says they want a majority in the House of Commons to deliver it. 

        Labour seizes on the chance to go to the polls and Tory MPs reluctantly vote in the Commons for a snap election in late February.

        The Government is re-elected with a majority and passes its version of the deal – but delays Brexit day until mid July to pass the necessary laws.  

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          4. May switches to support for a No Deal Brexit after MPs reject her plan – but Labour wins a vote demanding a new referendum with support from Tory Remain rebels 

          After Mrs May’s deal is rejected by MPs, the Prime Minister insists the will of the Commons is clear and Brexit must be pursued without a deal.

          She wins a confidence vote among all MPs and is able to cling to power while she drives the country toward exit day without a deal. 

          Labour demands an election but ignored by the PM, takes its earliest opportunity to table a motion in the Commons which condemns a no deal Brexit and calls for a new referendum on Brexit. 

          The motion passes – while it has no effect in law it changes the political mood dramatically. The Prime Minister says she cannot ignore the clear will of Parliament and starts the process of a new referendum.

          Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in the Commons yesterday) is thought likely to call for a vote of no confidence in the Government as soon as tonight – opening the door to the PM being ousted 

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            5. May is replaced by a new Tory Prime Minister who immediately calls an election – but Labour wins with a promise to renegotiate

            After losing her deal in the Commons, Mrs May is replaced in a rapid leadership election. The new Tory Prime Minister immediately calls an election.

            Labour campaigns on its promise to renegotiate the deal. Polling day comes in late February and Mr Corbyn is returned as Prime Minister with a small majority.

            He immediately goes to Brussels, gets a three month extension to Article 50 and restarts talks for Labour’s plan of a permanent customs union that gives Britain a special say over EU trade deals. 

            6. The deal is defeated and after a no confidence vote, Remain MPs break party lines to back a new PM to form a national government that calls a referendum

            Mrs May resigns amid chaos following a confidence vote – starting two weeks of limbo before a new election must be called in the absence of a Government.

            In the vacuum, an MP – perhaps ex Tory minister Nick Boles – calls on people across the Commons to break party lines and form a national government.

            The group forces a motion onto the floor of the House, possibly via the backbench business committee.

            In a surprise result, the motion not only carries but has support of more than half of MPs – shifting the politics and prompting the new leader to be invited to form their national government.

            The new Prime Minister calls a referendum with Remain, No Deal or May’s deal on the ballot paper – with a second round run off to decide the final settlement.  

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