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May walks the tightrope after epic failure over Brexit vote

May won a narrow victory, 325 votes to 306 votes, on an opposition motion seeking to topple her government and trigger a general election.

Saturday 19 January, 2019
Theresa May.
Theresa May. Foto:PABLO TEMES

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British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament this week, as she saw more of her power ebb away amid the battle to keep Brexit on track after lawmakers demolished her European Union divorce deal. Her office confirmed she will be skipping next week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, as the Brexit process remains gridlocked 10 weeks before the country is expected to leave the European Union.

May won a narrow victory, 325 votes to 306 votes, on an opposition motion seeking to topple her government and trigger a general election.

After defeating the no-confidence motion, May said she would hold talks “in a constructive spirit” with leaders of opposition parties and other lawmakers in a bid to find a way forward for Britain’s EU exit.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn responded with the no-confidence motion, and urged the government to “do the right thing and resign.”

Legislators ripped up May’s Brexit blueprint by rejecting the divorce agreement she has negotiated with the EU over the last two years in what is the biggest government defeat in British parliamentary history. At 432 votes to 202, the vote was devastating for May’s leadership and her Brexit deal.

May’s determination — or, as her foes see it, her inflexibility — might not be an asset in a situation calling for a change of course. The prime minister has until Monday to come up with a new Brexit plan.

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