Labour makes no-confidence move against PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46599895

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Media captionTheresa May announces Brexit vote date

Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion of no confidence in Theresa May, after she said MPs would not vote on her Brexit deal until the week of 14 January.

The PM had delayed the vote from last week, admitting she was set to lose.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn said on Monday it was unacceptable for MPs to wait a month to vote, adding the PM had led the UK into a “national crisis”.

But No 10 sources told the BBC the government would not make time for the no-confidence vote.

Ministers would not “go along with silly political games”, they added.

Mr Corbyn tabled the motion calling on MPs to declare they have “no confidence in the prime minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away” on the Brexit deal.

The motion focuses on Mrs May personally, rather than the government.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the motion could have been embarrassing for Mrs May, but as things stood, ministers would not allow time for it to be debated.

She said No 10 had effectively “batted the ball back to Labour to see if they have the guts” to call for a vote of no confidence in the government as a whole.

The SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have tried to force Labour to do just that, by trying to amend Mr Corbyn’s motion, in the hope it will trigger a general election.

A ‘wasted’ month

Earlier Mrs May told MPs they would have the chance to vote on the deal she negotiated with Brussels in the third week of January.

Mr Corbyn said by then a month would have been wasted since the original 11 December vote was postponed, with “not a single word renegotiated and not a single reassurance given”.

“The deal is unchanged and is not going to change,” he said.

“The House must get on with the vote and move on to consider the realistic alternatives.”

In other Brexit-related news:

  • The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford was granted an emergency debate on Brexit for Tuesday, having said Parliament needed to “take control of the situation and find a solution”
  • Theresa May rejected reports she was taking advice from predecessor David Cameron on what to do in the event of a Brexit deadlock in Parliament
  • More than 60 MPs from various parties wrote to the PM urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit, saying it would do “unnecessary economic damage” to manufacturers
  • Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said Brexit might have to be delayed if the UK submitted an “entirely new” withdrawal proposal

Mrs May’s Brexit deal sets out the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU – on 29 March 2019 – and includes a declaration on the outline of the future relations between the UK and the EU.

But the deal only comes into force if both parliaments approve it.

In a Commons statement, Mrs May said MPs would resume the debate – halted last week – in the week of 7 January. The “meaningful” vote is due to take place the following week.

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Media captionPM on EU: “There is no plot to keep us in backstop.”

Mrs May told MPs: “It is now only just over 14 weeks until the UK leaves the EU and I know many members of this House are concerned that we need to take a decision soon.”

She said she had won fresh guarantees at last week’s EU summit over measures to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and she hoped to secure additional “political and legal assurances” in the coming weeks.

Q&A: The Irish border Brexit backstop

Earlier on Monday, an EU spokesman said it had provided the “clarifications” requested on the contentious issue of the Northern Ireland border backstop and “no further meetings were foreseen”.

During her statement, Mrs May faced calls from across the House for the vote to be held immediately.

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn: May taking shambolic government to new level

Former education secretary Justine Greening said Mrs May had led the UK down a “political cul-de-sac”, adding: “She now isn’t just not listening, she is not allowing debate.”

Former cabinet ministers Dominic Raab and Esther McVey urged the PM to accelerate planning for a no-deal exit while another former minister, Andrew Mitchell, urged her to consider suspending the Brexit process to allow for further negotiations.

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Your guide to Brexit jargon

But Mrs May won support from one “previously sceptical” Brexiteer, Sir Edward Leigh, who said her efforts to secure a legally-binding protocol on the Irish backstop might pay off, urging her to “keep calm and carry on”.

Earlier, No 10 said it had “no plans” for votes on other Brexit outcomes if the PM’s deal is rejected after it emerged David Cameron had given advice to his successor.

The BBC understands Mr Cameron has been in touch with Mrs May about how a series of “indicative votes” on various different Brexit outcomes could be handled if there was deadlock over the terms of the UK’s exit.

Potential “Plan B” options include:

The PM is coming under pressure from ministers to “test the will of Parliament” through a series of non-binding votes – which would see MPs pass judgement on the options available in the hope of identifying the most popular.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said he backed Mrs May’s deal but if Parliament was implacably opposed, it should be “invited to say what it would agree with”.

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Media captionCould there be a second Brexit vote?

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