British Prime Minister survives vote of confidence

Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK, has survived a vote of confidence by her own party, The Conservatives, which was held yesterday evening (Wednesday, December 12).

However, her margin of victory was narrower than was expected, picking up 200 votes from her party’s members in the House of Commons – only 63% of votes cast.

117 votes were cast against her, in response to dissatisfaction concerning her Brexit agreement with the European Union among hardline brexiteers.

Yesterday morning, a number of these Conservative brexiteers officially called for a vote of confidence, exceeding the 15% of the party’s members of parliament that was necessary to call for a vote.

May had promised to step down as the party’s leader before Britain’s next general election, in a bid to reassure her opponents that she would eventually resign, and persuade party colleagues to keep her in power for the moment while she continues to deal with Brexit.

Before yesterday’s vote, May had been set to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin, a meeting that was cancelled as a result of the vote on confidence.

May will now continue on her original plans to meet with European leaders and get concessions on the withdrawal agreement, especially on the Northern Irish backstop.

The backstop, which is designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, would keep the UK in a customs and trading relationship with Europe, which is considered unacceptable by hardline brexiteers.

The European Union, as well as Leo Varadkar, have said that the withdrawal agreement is the only possible deal, and that the withdrawal agreement cannot be renegotiated.

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