Dublin: UK Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote in her leadership of the Conservative party on Wednesday night (early Thursday UAE).
May won support of 200 of the 317 Members of Parliament, a chastening result following a humiliating week in the House of Commons that saw her government in contempt of parliament for failing to release legal advice on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, and then postpone a Commons vote to approve that agreement.
Before the vote, May addressed her MPs and said she would not lead the Conservatives into the next general election, which is set before the end of June 2022.
But an election may be called sooner rather than later if Labour and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, manage to win a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons. As it stands now, the Conservatives rely on 10 MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for their Commons majority. The DUP, however, remain vehemently opposed to the so-called “backstop” guarantee that will keep the border between the British-governed province and the Republic of Ireland to the south of the island.
The leadership review also fails to improve May’s position in the House of Commons where a majority are opposed to the Brexit deal her government agreed with the European Union last month.
On Monday, May postponed a Commons vote on that withdrawal agreement and is due to meet with her EU counterparts in an Brussels summit to try and wrest more concessions from the bloc. But the EU leaders say the Brexit deal is the deal, and there’s no room for renegotiations. Now that summit is more likely to focus on making preparations for a no-deal Brexit by the UK come March 29.
Mick O’Reilly is the Gulf News Foreign Correspondent based in Europe