Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday December 14, 2018
5 Takeaways About Theresa May’s (Sort of) Victory
Prime Minister Theresa May survived a revolt on Wednesday by the hard-line, pro-Brexit parliamentary faction of her Conservative Party.
That will give her some time to try to get her plan for leaving the European Union — the same one that spurred the revolt — through Parliament.
But the final tally in the no-confidence vote on Wednesday also showed just how difficult that will be.
To pass legislation, Mrs. May needs the votes of all her party’s lawmakers and more — her government relies on the backing of a small Northern Ireland party. In this ballot, which was restricted to Conservative members of Parliament, 200 lawmakers supported her and 117 voted to eject her from office.
More than a third of her own party wanted someone else leading the Brexit process. That was especially sobering because about half of Conservative lawmakers also hold paid government posts of some sort; Mrs. May’s critics were quick to argue that she would have lost handily without the support of this “payroll vote.”
The prime minister bargained away her long-term political future to ensure she would survive the no-confidence vote, promising Conservative lawmakers that she would step down before a general election set for 2022.
A vote against Mrs. May’s leadership was effectively a vote against her agreement on leaving the European Union. (Her government is doing little else at the moment.)
European leaders will greet any attempt to rewrite the 585-page, legally binding withdrawal agreement with a resounding no. They refuse to abandon a so-called backstop arrangement that at least temporarily keeps Britain in a customs union with Europe to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and Ireland, which is a member of the European Union.
If Parliament does nothing before March 29, Britain’s relationship with the European Union will rupture overnight. Banking, trade, travel, food, medicines, the fluid border between Ireland and Northern Ireland — all would be thrown into flux. (Source: New York Times)