British PM Theresa May faces confidence vote after Brexit defeat

Theresa May

As May appealed to her party in a closed-door meeting Monday night in Parliament, it looked like even getting the margin of defeat below 100 votes would be a significant achievement.

The Commons defeat - the largest in history, by 432 votes to 202 - came as a huge blow for Mrs May.

Immediately after the vote, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a no-confidence motion, saying it would give Parliament a chance to give its verdict "on the sheer incompetence of this government".

That seems the most likely outcome, given the explicit backing May has received from the Democratic Unionists, a small Northern Ireland party that has propped up her government. With the March 29 deadline for Brexit looming, the way forward remains unclear. But critics said she was not budging from a deal that had alienated all sides of the debate.

A sudden shift to different standards would impact nearly every economic sector - and possibly see the costs of everyday products in Britain rise as well as create disruption at logistical hubs such as ports.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, had called for motion just after Tuesday's resounding vote against the Brexit deal that May had negotiated with the EU.

As May faces a no confidence vote Wednesday and the British government scrambles to find a way to avoid crashing out of the bloc without a deal on March 29 (a "no-deal" Brexit), the rest of Europe is watching the chaos unfold.

While May believes she will survive Wednesday's no-confidence vote, it's unclear how long she - or her Brexit strategy - will last.

She may have passed the test Wednesday, but the PM has her work cut out for her.

The no-confidence vote was supported by all of Britain's opposition parties, the BBC notes, including the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats.

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Labour says further no-confidence votes could follow if this one fails. Labour wants a permanent customs union with the EU, a close relationship with its single market, and greater protections for workers and consumers.

The only two PIO MPs who voted for the deal were minister for employment Alok Sharma and Rishi Sunak, both Tories. In an open letter addressed to the prime minister, Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk committed to making sure "that the backstop will not need to be triggered". "Time is nearly up", Juncker wrote.

During the debate, Corbyn said there is "no majority for this government's Brexit deal and there is no majority either for a no-deal scenario", which he said would be a "catastrophe".

"The pressure is mainly on them", French President Emmanuel Macron said of the UK. "A slightly amended version of the withdrawal bill might yet get parliamentary approval", the report says. The law provides for extra customs officers after Brexit day and a temporary rule allowing Britons employed in France to keep their jobs after March 29 even though they will no longer be European Union citizens.

Business groups had appealed for lawmakers to back the deal to provide certainty about the future.

The pound rebounded from earlier losses on news of the plan for cross-party discussions.

All agree that it's for the United Kingdom government to decide on the next steps.

British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal by an overwhelming margin Tuesday, sparking political chaos that could lead to a chaotic exit from the European Union, a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave - and even May's departure from office. Assurances from European Union leaders that the backstop is intended as a temporary measure of last resort failed to win over many British skeptics.

He said Mrs May meant to retain her "red lines" - ruling out Labour's demand for a customs union with the EU - with sources suggesting compromising on this would risk cabinet resignations.

"If you can't resolve the impasse here in Westminster, than you have to refer it back to the people", said Labour Party lawmaker Chuka Umunna, who supports a second referendum.

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