The House of Commons finally got the chance to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal this evening. It was a vote that should have taken place before the Christmas break, but May postponed the vote in order to give herself more time to persuade her party to back it. (Translation: to add an even bigger ticking clock and frighten as many MPs into compliance as possible.) How did that work out?
In short, a crushing defeat.
It was a predictable defeat in one sense, as we saw this coming months ago, but it still had the power to surprise. The final scores on the doors were 202 votes for the deal, and 432 against. This makes it the biggest government defeat in history. It is also the biggest Tory rebellion ever.
It has taken 30 months to get to this point with Plan A. May has 3 working days before she needs to present a Plan B to the House of Commons. 3 days.
Or is that 2 days? She will be rather busy with other matters tomorrow, because this isn’t the only drama in Parliament this week. Immediately after the results were announced, she invited the Opposition to submit a motion of no confidence to be debated tomorrow. (Kind reading: She accepted the loss calmly. More likely reading: She thinks she can see off a parliamentary vote of no confidence like she did with the party’s recent attempted coup.) Corbyn wasn’t deterred by May stealing his thunder, raging at the government’s incompetence in his final speech of the evening. Bring it on.
The no confidence debates are set to last for the full session tomorrow. If the motion goes Corbyn’s way, a general election will be on the horizon. If May sees it off, well, she’ll still have the mammoth task of devising a Plan B ready for Monday.
Long story short? Get some more popcorn in, we’re going to be here all week.
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