UK Prime Minister to face another no confidence motion

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, is facing a second vote of confidence in less than two months after her Brexit withdrawal agreement, which would assure a trading relationship with the EU, was overwhelmingly defeated in a parliamentary vote last night (January 15).

The vote would have guaranteed that Britain and the EU maintained a similar trading environment, which would assure that Irish exporters, including agri-food producers, could send produce across the Irish Sea without major tariffs.

The agreement, however, was defeated by a massive margin: 432 votes against to 202 votes for, leaving a margin of defeat of 230.

May had faced a vote of confidence last month from within her own party. This vote, which will take place at around 7:00pm this evening (January 16), will be a ballot of all members of parliament (MPs).

The vote of confidence was brought forward by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. May’s party colleagues who voted against the withdrawal agreement are likely to vote in her favour for the vote of confidence, so as to avoid a Labour government.

May’s coalition partners, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), are also expected to vote in her favour, despite rejecting her deal.

It is expected, therefore, that May will survive the vote.

May announced that, if she does survive the vote, she intends to hold cross-party talks to determine a way forward.

In a statement, the Government here reacted to the vote last night, saying: “The Government regrets the outcome of the vote in Westminster this evening on the withdrawal agreement negotiated between the UK government and the European Union.

“This outcome will add to uncertainty about the nature of the UK withdrawal from the EU. The Government urges the UK to set out how it proposes to move forward,” the statement went on to say.

The statement also said that the vote increases the risk of a “disorderly” UK departure form the EU, and that the Government will continue to make preparations for a no-deal Brexit.