Commentator on Brexit Situation: It's 'Essential' UK Leaves Customs Union

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Brexit - Sputnik International
Earlier, Theresa May clarified her position to push ahead with her draft Brexit proposal with the European Union, despite a number of resignations in her government and the prospect of a vote of no confidence by her own party. Sputnik spoke to broadcaster and political commentator Marcus Stead about recent Brexit developments.

Sputnik: What did you make of the last 48 hours in Brexit and the draft deal?

Marcus Stead: The deal was on arrival in the House of Commons in effect and worst of all worlds, for Brexit to be a success, it is absolutely essential the UK leaves the Customs Union and by that, I mean the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland because as long as we are in the Customs Union it will be virtually impossible to negotiate trade deals with the wider world.

Logically and logistically it's impossible to see how this will get through the House of Commons. The Conservative have the largest number of seats but it does not have an overall majority, and as we know it relies on the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist party to get it's day to day legislation through, it's clear the DUP will not be voting for this agreement and at least 70 Conservative MP's will vote against it, so how does Mrs May make up the shortfall.

A still image from video footage shows Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speak about Brexit, in the House of Commons, in central London - Sputnik International
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Is Theresa May still strong and stable or could she lose a leadership no-confidence vote?

Marcus Stead: This situation is now changing not day by day but hours by hour and I would say it's more likely than not that a challenge will be triggered, possibly by the end of today if not over the weekend. To trigger a vote of no confidence, Conservative backbench MP's have to write letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee and once Sir Graham has 48 letters, that's 15% of the parliamentary party, there would be a vote of no confidence in Theresa May.

The Tory MP's would be invited to cast a secret ballot in the Commons committee room, after the days voting Sir Graham would announce the result. In theory, Theresa May only needs to win by a majority of Tory MP's that's 158, but if she only won by one it would be a mortal blow to her authority.

What would you like to see happen now in terms of a new PM if there is a vote and a new cabinet?

Marcus Stead: Conservative MP's who want the job would put their name forward then there would be a round voting and the bottom candidate would drop out and then another round until we had two candidates left. When we are down to two the entire conservative grassroots membership gets to vote on who should be the next prime minister. Logistically there is a problem and that is the time scale, the whole process of getting the nominations in and round by round of voting would take weeks.

The British flag is seen at half mast. - Sputnik International
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That's an issue when there is an EU summit to finalise Brexit on 25th November, Mrs May is due to put that deal to Parliament in December. So for that reason I think it's likely the Conservative party may choose what I would call a common sense option and instead put forward 1 candidate a compromise candidate, to become a caretaker prime minister for months ahead to steady the ship and get us through the Brexit process.

The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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