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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

United Kingdom conservative Government will start talks
on yet another 'Brexit deal' after winning confidence vote

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May won a vital confidence vote in the House of Commons Wednesday, averting a snap general election that could have ushered in a Labour government.

After seeing off a challenge that would have triggered a battle for control of Downing Street, May announced she would be having immediate talks with leaders of opposition parties to thrash out a new Brexit deal.
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British Sterling pound rebounds after BREXIT deal voted down | Coastweek

  Seconds after Speaker John Bercow announced the result -- 325 in favor of the government and 306 against—May said she intended to start those talks "this evening".

May said she would continue to work to deliver on the solemn promise to the people of Britain to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum and leave the European Union.

Urging other party leaders to approach the talks with a constructive spirit, May said:

"We must find solutions that are negotiable and command sufficient support in this House (of Commons)."

Main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on May to rule out "once and for all" a no-deal prospects before any positive discussions took place with party leaders.

Media outlets in London quoted Downing Street confirming May will not take no-deal off the table ahead of talks with Corbyn, creating a potential deadlock in Brexit negotiations.

May’s spokesperson said leaders of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Welsh party, Plaid Cymru, were invited to meet the prime minister later Wednesday evening.

Corbyn and his Labour party came under criticism for refusing to take part in talks with May until their demand was met. A spokesman for Corbyn said:

"There can’t be meaningful talks about how to find a deal that reflects the majority in Parliament and that can command a majority in Parliament while the threat of no deal, which would be disastrous for the country is still on the table. That must come off the table."

In Wednesday night’s six-hour debate, politicians on the Conservative benches, who 24 hours earlier were divided on May’s Brexit deal, rallied to ensure May’s government survived.
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London mayor Sadiq Khan called Wednesday night on May’s government to withdraw article 50, the mechanism that triggers Britain’s EU departure on March 29.

He said: "If we cannot have a general election the British public must have the final say, with the option to stay in the EU."

In another day of nail-biting drama in the House of Commons, the 10 MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland came to the rescue to save May’s Conservative government.

The DUP has a pact to shore up May’s minority government in a supply and confidence agreement.

Had the DUP back the no confidence measure put forward by Corbyn and the other political parties at Westminster, May could have lost by just one vote.

In Wednesday night’s six-hour debate, politicians on the Conservative benches, who 24 hours earlier were divided on May’s Brexit deal, rallied to ensure May’s government survived.

Corbyn had urged MPs to back a no confidence move, saying May’s zombie administration had lost the right to govern.

Professor Richard Toye, head of history at the University of Exeter said Wednesday:

"It is incredibly difficult for an opposition to force a general election.

"The outcome of the confidence vote will be to sustain Theresa May in office but not in power.

"We are in the rearranging-the-deckchairs-on-the-deck-of-the-Titanic phase."

May is now on course to continue seeking parliamentary backing for a Brexit deal to enable Britain to leave the EU later this year.

May will return to the House of Commons on Monday to make a statement to MPs about Brexit and to present MPs with an alternative Brexit plan in the hope it has more success than the deal rejected Tuesday by a massive margin of MPs.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Government of British Prime Minister Theresa May
survives no-confidence vote by narrow margin

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote in the House of Commons Wednesday, averting any immediate risk of an early general election.

The vote of no-confidence, put forward by the main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was lost by 325 votes to 306. It meant the government survived by just 19 votes.

It means May is now on course to continue seeking parliamentary backing for a Brexit deal to enable Britain to leave the European Union (EU) later this year.

May will return to the House of Commons on Monday to present MPs with an alternative Brexit plan in the hope it has more success than the deal rejected Tuesday by a massive margin of 432 votes to 202.

Corbyn told May in a six-hour debate before the vote that if a government could not get their legislation through Parliament, they must go to the country for a new mandate.

The move was backed by opposition parties at Westminster, apart from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who supported May.

"The prime minister has lost control and the government has lost the ability to govern," said Corbyn, describing May as leader of a "zombie government".

Corbyn said every previous prime minister in the same situation would have resigned and called an election.

May, in her speech, said a general election would be the worst thing Britain could do.

"It would deepen division when we need unity, it would bring chaos when we need certainty, and it would bring delay when we need to move forward," said May.

"At this crucial moment in our nation’s history, a general election is simply not in the national interest," she said.

"We are living through a historic moment in our nation’s history.

Following a referendum that divided our nation in half, we dearly need to bring our country back together," May added.
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INTERVIEW:

Sudden no-deal Brexit moves closer, but May’s rejected deal could return

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- The prospects of a sudden no-deal Brexit have moved closer, according to a leading expert, but the EU Withdrawal Agreement soundly rejected by the British parliament on Tuesday evening could yet be the basis for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

British Prime Minister Theresa May saw her EU Withdrawal Agreement suffer the biggest defeat of a government policy in the history of the House of Commons.

The deal was rejected by a massive margin of 432 votes to 202.

"To lose a vote by that majority is unprecedented in British politics," Alan Wager, research associate at The UK in a Changing Europe, an independent think-tank at King’s College London, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

"This was a chance for MPs to register their views on Brexit and on the deal, but it is likely that on any future vote the numbers against would be reduced significantly," Wager said.

There are several options open now for Brexit.

These range from a sudden withdrawal on March 29 at the deadline of the Article 50 formal EU exit process, which would see Britain leave with no agreement, to a scrapping of Brexit completely.

These options could take in a change in prime minister, a change in government, a general election, and a second Brexit referendum or a mixture of those things.

May survived her next hurdle on Wednesday night when MPs supported her as prime minister in a vote of confidence called in the House of Commons by the main opposition Labour Party, winning that vote by 325 MPs to 306 MPs.

According to Wager, May could now seek to change some of the language around her rejected Withdrawal Agreement and bring it back to the House of Commons for a vote.

"She might have to change the agreement.

"The substance agreed with the European Union would stay substantially the same but she could change some of the politics of it, and the aspirations of it to gain majority support in the Commons," Wager said.

"I would not rule out the broad thrust of the deal surviving," he said.

As the deadline for withdrawal from the EU nears, MPs are under increasing pressure to find a solution, and this could work in May’s favor.

"Something needs to happen before the end of March, otherwise we will have a no-deal Brexit which will have catastrophic consequences," Wager said.

Wager believes May is unlikely to secure any further major changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, with the EU insistent that there is nothing new to offer.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker warned on Tuesday evening after the House of Commons vote that time was running out and Britain needed to clarify what it needed as quickly as possible.

"The EU is not willing to change the agreement itself—it is willing to give more positive signals to Theresa May and there are signs that heads of state are willing to give May some help in selling the deal to people," Wager said.

There has been a vocal and growing campaign called the People’s Vote calling for a Second Brexit Referendum.

This has support from a small number of MPs from the main Conservative and Labor parties and support from some of the small political parties in the House of Commons.

However, support for a second referendum is currently not dominant among MPs.

Wager said: "It is possible Brexit could be reversed.

"It is unlikely but it is still possible."
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SEE ALSO:

British Sterling pound rebounds after BREXIT deal voted down

             

 

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