'Beginning of the End of Brexit': UK Politicians on May Deal's Crushing Defeat

CC0 / / UK Parliament
UK Parliament - Sputnik International
Following a historic failed vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plan, UK political leaders – from hardcore Brexiteers to hardcore Remainers - are using it to reinforce their own agenda.

After the devastating vote on her Brexit deal project, UK Prime Minister Theresa May faces a vote of no confidence initiated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, which will be held on Wednesday evening, following a debate in the House of Commons. In case May loses this vote — which, judging by MPs' reaction to Corbyn's call is highly likely — the new leader will have to form a new government and win a vote of confidence in 14 days. Otherwise, the UK will have to hold general elections, according to CNN.

Reacting to the vote, former UK foreign secretary and leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson said that the UK needs "a better deal," which, the way he sees it, must give the UK more freedom in setting its own laws and conducting free trade.

"We need a new deal, a better deal. For that to be done, [Theresa May] needs to go back and get something that really allows us to take advantage of Brexit in terms of real free trade deals, real ability to set our own laws, in a way that this doesn't", he said. "There is time to do it. It just needs to be done with determination".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves a cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. - Sputnik International
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According to Johnson, Theresa May now has a "massive mandate to go back to Brussels" to negotiate a better deal.

His remarks were echoed by Arlene Foster, leader of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which enjoys 10 seats in the House of Commons.

"We will work with the Government constructively to achieve a better deal. That is our focus. Whilst some may wish to use this defeat to boost their political ambitions, we will give the Government the space to set out a plan to secure a better deal", she said.

According to Foster, the "No" vote sends a signal to Brussels that they should budge and agree on more beneficial terms for the UK's withdrawal.

"Mrs May will now be able to demonstrate to the Brussels' negotiators that changes are required if any deal is to command the support of Parliament", she said. "The prime minister must now go back to the European Union and seek fundamental change to the Withdrawal Agreement".

The Remainers, such as Labour MP Chuka Umunna and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, also welcomed the vote, but did it with their own twist: they called for a second Brexit referendum.

Westminster, London - Sputnik International
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According to Umunna, it is now up to his party's leader Jeremy Corbyn to take the lead and do what the "overwhelming majority" of Labour members want — that is to initiate the second referendum, BBC reports.

"Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, who also wants a second referendum, said Mrs May's defeat was "the beginning of the end of Brexit" — but conceded that campaigners would not get one without Mr Corbyn's backing", BBC reports.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for Article 50 's"clock to be stopped" in order for the second referendum to take place.

"We have reached the point now where it would be unconscionable to kick the can any further down the road", she said.

However, despite each side turning the vote's result into their own favour, there is no real consensus in the House of Commons regarding the future Brexit plan, including the second referendum, says Rory Stewart, who recently assumed the position of State Minister for Prisons.

A demonstrator holds a placard during an anti-Brexit protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, December 17, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn himself called the vote the "greatest defeat for the government since the 1920s".

"Labour has laid out our priorities consistently: no deal must be taken off the table, a permanent Customs Union must be secured and people's rights and protections must be guaranteed", Corbyn said in a speech before the House of Commons.

"In the last two years [Theresa May] had only one priority — the Conservative Party. The government principle of delay and denial has reached the end of the line", Corbyn said as he informed the MPs that he tabled the no confidence vote, to the audible cheer of the audience.

Theresa May's plan for the Brexit deal was rejected by lawmakers Tuesday with 202 votes for versus 432 against.

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