First Thoughts On The Brexit Vote

Theresa May made history today when MPs rejected her Brexit deal by a vote of 202 to 432, making it the worst government defeat in modern British history (previously, that record was held by Ramsay MacDonald’s minority Labour government, which lost a vote by a margin of 166 in 1924).

In the old days, this defeat would almost certainly have precipitated a General Election, but thanks to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, those wishing to oust May must table a separate motion of no-confidence. The Opposition has now done just that, and the Government has indicated that MPs will debate the motion tomorrow. But since the Democratic Unionist Party has indicated that their MPs will back the Government in the vote, May looks likely to survive unless the DUP’s support is somehow canceled out by Conservative rebels. That seems unlikely to happen since even the most hard-line Tory Brexiteers will realize that a General Election could potentially give Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Downing Street. This suggests that May will hang on to power for now, even though a lasting solution to the Brexit problem remains as elusive as ever.

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