May vows to cling on despite facing a HUGE Commons defeat over Brexit

May vows to cling on despite facing a HUGE Commons defeat over Brexit

December 2, 2018

Defiant May vows to cling on to power as aides compare her mindset to HITLER’S last days in bunker: PM knocks back claim that G20 could be her LAST foreign trip as she faces a HUGE defeat over Brexit deal

  • Theresa May fighting to salvage her Brexit deal ahead of crunch Commons vote
  • Defiant PM vows to cling on insisting she has a ‘lot more to do’ before quitting
  • Around 100 Tory MPs, Labour, the SNP and Lib Dems vowing to oppose her plan
  • Labour says it will table no confidence vote if the package is voted down by MPs
  • Michael Gove delivers stark warning about danger of second Brexit referendum
  • Said it would ‘rip social fabric’ by telling voters they were ‘too thick’ to decide 
  • e-mail



Defiant Theresa May has vowed to cling on as PM – despite facing a catastrophic Commons defeat over her Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister insisted she will face down massive opposition from more than 100 Tory rebels, Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems to the package she thrashed out with the EU.

She said the next nine days will ‘determine the future’ of the UK. 

But she was humiliatingly forced to deny that the G20 summit in Argentina could be her last foreign trip as PM – saying there is ‘a lot more for me still to do’.

The scale of the challenge facing Mrs May was underlined over the weekend with the resignation of universities minister Sam Gyimah, who joined demands for a second referendum.

One No10 aide is reported to have complained that the PM is acting like Hitler in his bunker at the end of the Second World War, insisting victory can still be secured. 

Theresa May insisted she will face down massive opposition from more than 100 Tory rebels, Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems to the package she thrashed out with the EU

  • Labour WILL call confidence vote in May if she loses crunch… DUP, Tory rebels and Labour join forces against May: PM…

Share this article

Meanwhile, Labour has confirmed it will ‘inevitably’ call a no-confidence vote in the wake of what looks like her near-certain defeat in the Commons on December 11.

As critics gathered for an all-out assault, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer hinted that his favoured outcome is a second referendum – suggesting staying in the EU should be an option in the ballot, and no-deal Brexit should not be.

A group of Cabinet ministers are also said to be preparing to push for a Norway-style relationship with the EU to avoid a disastrous no-deal.

What happens if Labour calls a confidence vote in the government? 

Before 2010, losing a crucial vote like the looming one on the Brexit deal would itself have been enough to force an election.

But under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, there are specific steps that need to be followed to send the country back to the polls outside the usual five year parliamentary term.

The easiest way to to trigger an election before May 2022 is to secure a two-thirds majority in the Commons – but this appears highly unlikely

Otherwise, the government must first lose a motion stating explicitly that MPs have no confidence.

There is then a 14 day period in which another government can be formed – almost certainly led by a Tory – that can win a confidence vote.

Only if that time elapses will the starting pistol be fired on a general election campaign.

But speaking as she wrapped up a thorny G20 summit in Argentina last night, Mrs May insisted her premiership will not end with Brexit.  

‘The next nine days are a really important time for our country, leading up to the vote on this deal,’ she told a press conference in Buenos Aires.

‘I will be talking with Members of Parliament obviously and explaining to them why I believe this is a good deal for the UK, why it is a deal that delivers on Brexit but it is also a deal that protects jobs and the economy, and why passing this deal in the vote that takes place in the House of the Commons will take us to certainty for the future, and that failure to do that would only lead to uncertainty.

‘I think what people want, and what I’ve been hearing here at the G20 is the importance of that certainty for the future.’

Asked what she would like her legacy to be if she is forced out of her job as a result of Conservative divisions over Brexit, Mrs May replied: ‘There is a lot more for me still to do, not least delivering on Brexit and being the Prime Minister that does take the United Kingdom out of the European Union.’ 

Mrs May told  the Mail on Sunday she would not be deterred by the resignation of Mr Gyimah over a demand for a second referendum – and promised to fight tirelessly during the ‘momentous’ days ahead to win the crunch Commons vote on December 11. 

Mr Gyimah said he was resigning from the Government because Mrs May’s deal would mean the UK losing its voice in the EU while still having to abide by the bloc’s rules.

He said: ‘In these protracted negotiations, our interests will be repeatedly and permanently hammered by the EU27 for many years to come.

‘Britain will end up worse off, transformed from rule makers into rule takers… To vote for this deal is to set ourselves up for failure. We will be losing, not taking control, of our national destiny.’

His move meant that the No 10 team in Buenos Aires spent Friday battling in vain to avert his resignation – while juggling diplomatically fraught encounters with Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Labour’s Keir Starmer said today the circumstances were so ‘exceptional’ that the government’s legal advice must be released

They were also furious that Mr Gyimah’s resignation – the seventh by a Minister over the issue – overshadowed a carefully timed declaration of support by Environment Secretary and leading Brexiteer Michael Gove. 

A senior source said: ‘It’s a stab in the back from someone [Mr Gyimah] who hopes to be leader. But the only person tipping Sam for leader is Sam.’

Mrs May said she ‘profoundly disagreed’ with Mr Gyimah for wanting a second referendum and that voting down her deal in an attempt to achieve it would end the Brexit project altogether.

Mrs May said: ‘If you look around the Commons you will see people who are trying to frustrate Brexit. We are nine days from the meaningful vote. 

‘At the end of those nine days we want to be able to look to a bright and certain future.

‘This is a momentous period in our country’s history, and over the next nine days I want to focus on the significance of this vote, because it determines our future’.

It is the second time that Mrs May has been ‘betrayed’ by a minister over a second referendum while she carried out foreign duties. 

Last month, Transport Minister Jo Johnson quit while she attended Remembrance services in Europe.

How does the Commons contempt process work? 

Under Commons rules, the Speaker decides whether to allow a contempt motion to go before the House.

If he does and the vote is carried, it would then be referred to the Committee of Privileges which would rule on whether a contempt of Parliament had taken place.

If it is decided that a contempt had occurred, the committee can recommend a suitable punishment which is then put back to MPs to agree.

In theory, the most severe penalty is expulsion from the House, although the prospects of that happening would appear remote.

However any finding against the Government would be potentially highly damaging for Mrs May at a time when she is at her most vulnerable politically. 

With the sense of gloom mounting, one No10 aide told the Sunday Times Mrs May seemed to be in denial.

‘No one is even allowed to talk about plan B. Anyone who discusses other options is seen as disloyal,’ the said.

‘It’s like the scene in Downfall where Hitler is going on about the armies about to sweep in and save the day and the generals are looking at him as if he’s mad.’

Meanwhile, Tory MP Nick Boles said up to eight Cabinet ministers had been asking his advice about his plan for a Norway-style relationship with the EU.

‘I’ve spoken to probably now six or eight members of the Cabinet – I don’t want to say that they’re all completely signed up to this as a Plan B. Of course they’re all supporting the Prime Minister’s plan first and foremost. 

‘Some of them are very committed to it – Amber Rudd has been very clear before she went back into the Cabinet that this is her preferred fallback option. 

‘Others are thinking it over. But what is true of everyone is that they’re all looking for that realistic, doable, negotiable, deliverable Brexit deal and there aren’t any others if the Prime Minister’s deal is defeated.’  

However, he admitted that the arrangement would mean effectively accepting free movement rules – something the PM has repeatedly ruled out.   

Mrs May insists she can still carry the vote through the Commons on December 11, despite calculations that more than 100 Tory MPs could rebel. 

Asked if she expected to be celebrating Christmas as Prime Minister, she said: ‘This has never been about me… actually over the next nine days I am not going to be giving Christmas much thought at all. I am going to be focusing on this deal.’

But it is understood that Mrs May has already started sending the official Prime Ministerial Christmas cards.

Mrs May, making the first visit to Buenos Aires by a British Prime Minister, added that she had used the G20 summit ‘have a chat with Donald Trump… we both acknowledged we will be able to do a trade deal’. 

Mr Gove warned yesterday that leaving the EU would be under ‘great threat’ if the deal was rejected by MPs. 

But Mrs May is coming under intense cross-party pressure to agree to a second referendum if she loses the Commons vote, a move that would infuriate Tory pro-Brexit MPs. 

Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis insisted Theresa May’s deal is the ‘only option’, saying: ‘Plan B is plan A – it’s to get this deal agreed.’

He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘It is the only deal that’s there on the table, it’s the only option we have got it: if this deal doesn’t go through, we have the risk of no Brexit, no deal potentially … there’s a whole range of chaos that can come through.’

Mr Lewis also said he was not planning for an early general election, telling the programme: ‘I’m ready for the 2019 local elections, that’s what I’m planning for, we will be ready for the 2022 general election.

‘I don’t think anybody watching this programme, having had two general elections and a referendum in the last three years, is looking for a general election or will thank the Government for that.’

Is May’s deal already sunk? 100 Tories have already come out against it meaning she must find almost 100 votes from Brexiteer rebels, DUP and Labour to get it through the Commons

Theresa May has secured her deal in Brussels but her fight to get it actually in place in time for Brexit day is just beginning.

The ‘meaningful vote’ promised to MPs will happen on December 11 and is the single biggest hurdle to the Brexit deal happening – and Mrs May’ fate as PM.

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

The number is less than half because the four Speakers, 7 Sinn Fein MPs and four tellers will not take part.

The situation looks grim for Mrs May and her whips: now the deal has been published, 100 of her own MPs and the 10 DUP MPs have publicly stated they will join the Opposition parties in voting No.

This means the PM could have as few as 225 votes in her corner – leaving 410 votes on the other side, a landslide majority 185.

This is how the House of Commons might break down:

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

The Government (plus various hangers-on)

Who are they: All members of the Government are the so-called ‘payroll’ vote and are obliged to follow the whips orders or resign. It includes the Cabinet, all junior ministers, the whips and unpaid parliamentary aides.

There are also a dozen Tory party ‘vice-chairs and 17 MPs appointed by the PM to be ‘trade envoys’.

How many of them are there? 178.

What do they want? For the Prime Minister to survive, get her deal and reach exit day with the minimum of fuss.

Many junior ministers want promotion while many of the Cabinet want to be in a position to take the top job when Mrs May goes.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

European Research Group Brexiteers demanding a No Confidence Vote

Who are they: The most hard line of the Brexiteers, they launched a coup against Mrs May after seeing the divorce. Led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker.

How many of them are there: 26

What do they want: The removal of Mrs May and a ‘proper Brexit’. Probably no deal now, with hopes for a Canada-style deal later.

How will they vote: Against the Prime Minister.

Other Brexiteers in the ERG

Who are they: There is a large block of Brexiteer Tory MPs who hate the deal but have so far stopped short of moving to remove Mrs May – believing that can destroy the deal instead. They include ex Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and ex minister Owen Paterson.

Ex ministers like Boris Johnson and David Davis are also in this group – they probably want to replace Mrs May but have not publicly moved against her.

How many of them are there? Around 50.

What do they want? The ERG has said Mrs May should abandon her plans for a unique trade deal and instead negotiate a ‘Canada plus plus plus’ deal.

This is based on a trade deal signed between the EU and Canada in August 2014 that eliminated 98 per cent of tariffs and taxes charged on goods shipped across the Atlantic.

The EU has long said it would be happy to do a deal based on Canada – but warn it would only work for Great Britain and not Northern Ireland.

How will they vote: Against the Prime Minister.

Remain including the People’s Vote supporters

Who are they: Tory MPs who believe the deal is just not good enough for Britain. They include the group of unrepentant Remainers who want a new referendum like Anna Soubry and ex-ministers who quit over the deal including Jo Johnson and Phillip Lee.

How many of them are there: Maybe around 10.

What do they want? To stop Brexit. Some want a new referendum, some think Parliament should step up and say no.

A new referendum would take about six months from start to finish and they group wants Remain as an option on the ballot paper, probably with Mrs May’s deal as the alternative.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister.

Moderates in the Brexit Delivery Group (BDG) and other Loyalists

Who are they? A newer group, the BDG counts members from across the Brexit divide inside the Tory Party. It includes former minister Nick Boles and MPs including Remainer Simon Hart and Brexiteer Andrew Percy.

There are also lots of unaligned Tory MPs who are desperate to talk about anything else.

How many of them are there? Based on public declarations, about 48 MPs have either said nothing or backed the deal.

What do they want? The BDG prioritises delivering on Brexit and getting to exit day on March 29, 2019, without destroying the Tory Party or the Government. If the PM gets a deal the group will probably vote for it.

It is less interested in the exact form of the deal but many in it have said Mrs May’s Chequers plan will not work.

Mr Boles has set out a proposal for Britain to stay in the European Economic Area (EEA) until a free trade deal be negotiated – effectively to leave the EU but stay in close orbit as a member of the single market.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.


Who are they? The Northern Ireland Party signed up to a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the Conservative Party to prop up the Government.

They are Unionist and say Brexit is good but must not carve Northern Ireland out of the Union.

How many of them are there? 10.

What do they want? A Brexit deal that protects Northern Ireland inside the UK.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister on the grounds they believe the deal breaches the red line of a border in the Irish Sea.

Labour Loyalists

Who are they? Labour MPs who are loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and willing to follow his whipping orders.

How many of them are there? Up to 250 MPs depending on exactly what Mr Corbyn orders them to do.

What do they want? Labour policy is to demand a general election and if the Government refuses, ‘all options are on the table’, including a second referendum.

Labour insists it wants a ‘jobs first Brexit’ that includes a permanent customs union with the EU. It says it is ready to restart negotiations with the EU with a short extension to the Article 50 process.

The party says Mrs May’s deal fails its six tests for being acceptable.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister’s current deal.

Labour Rebels

Who are they? A mix of MPs totally opposed to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, some Labour Leave supporters who want a deal and some MPs who think any deal will do at this point.

How many of them are there? Maybe 10 to 20 MPs but this group is diminishing fast – at least for the first vote on the deal.

What do they want? An orderly Brexit and to spite Mr Corbyn.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

Other Opposition parties

Who are they? The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Green Caroline Lucas and assorted independents.

How many of them are there? About 60 MPs.

How will they vote? Mostly against the Prime Minister – though two of the independents are suspended Tories and two are Brexiteer former Labour MPs. 





Source: Read Full Article