LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May was on Thursday to plow on with her Brexit plan after surviving a motion of no confidence lodged against her by a rebellious faction of her own party which seeks a harder exit from the European Union.
The Conservative Party leader is set to travel to Brussels later in the day for a European Council meeting where she was expected to ask EU leaders to improve the terms of the Brexit deal struck between London and Brussels in a bid to pacify lawmakers in the House of Commons, the UK’s lower parliament, before it is put to a vote.
Some 200 Tory Members of Parliament backed May in the motion of no confidence filed by the European Research Group, a euroskeptic faction of conservatives, but 117 voted in favor of a leadership change, damaging her already shaky standing in the Commons, where her party wields a minority.
EU leaders have unanimously said there was no room for renegotiating the divorce agreement, but were open to offer clarification, especially on the Irish backstop, a stipulation in the plan that would maintain a soft border between Northern Ireland, a UK territory, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The Democratic Unionist Party, a regional Northern Irish party that acts as the kingmaker for May’s Commons minority, has been one of the most vociferous parliamentary groups calling for changes to the draft deal.
On Monday, May delayed a parliamentary vote on her withdrawal agreement as it was almost certainly going to fail.
It is expected to be held in January 2019, just two months before the UK is slated to withdraw from the bloc.
UK voters chose to leave the EU in a June 2016 referendum.