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Theresa May warns not to expect 'immediate breakthrough’ over Brexit deal

14 December 2018

For an internal no-confidence vote to be formally triggered, at least 48 Conservative Party MPs needed to submit letters of no confidence in the prime minister to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee-the parliamentary group of the Conservatives.

May's victory, "means she can not be challenged for another year, closing the route to a no deal outcome via Brexiteer victory in a Conservative party leadership election and a change in government policy".

Arriving at the Brussels summit, May said she had heard "loud and clear" the concerns of MPs over the backstop and would tell her continental counterparts "what we need to get this deal over the line".

"The only way out of this mess is for the PM to show real leadership by calling a People's Vote, and letting the public choose between this Brexit chaos and uncertainty or stability under the best deal we already have as a member of the European Union". The EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker insists it can't be re-opened, and why would the EU want to re-open it when the same interlocutor remains at Number 10 and it hasn't even been put to a vote of the UK Parliament?

"We are only in the foothills of the parliamentary manoeuvering and my prediction is that we will end up with a Brexit voted through at the last minute with a cross-party alliance of MPs".

However, she played down the prospect of an "immediate breakthrough" during the two-day gathering in the Belgian capital.

Sir Graham Brady announces that Theresa May has survived an attempt by Tory MPs to oust her as party leader
Sir Graham Brady announces that Theresa May has survived an attempt by Tory MPs to oust her as party leader

During the secret vote, all 317 Tory MPs ticked one of the box on the ballot: "I have confidence in Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party" or "I do not have confidence in Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party".

He said later, "I just couldn't believe we're still talking about the [Irish] backstop which is toxic and totally unacceptable to the [Democratic Unionist Party]" which has a confidence and supply agreement with the Tory government, and would certainly have voted down the deal.

Many supporters of Brexit say Mrs May's deal, a compromise that retains close economic ties with the European Union, fails to deliver on the clean break with the bloc that they want.

"Whilst I am grateful for that support, a significant number of colleagues did cast a vote against me, and I have listened to what they said".

It was a rare chink in the armour of a prime minister praised by her supporters as resilient but accused by her critics of ploughing on oblivious to the changing circumstances around her.

Her deal is also opposed by Labour and smaller opposition parties in parliament that want closer ties with Brussels.

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"A Prime Minister is a person who can get business through parliament".

Ms Phillips said: "They said we won't let patronage and power change our minds where wrongdoing occurred".

"It's a bad result for the Prime Minister", Mogg said.

"If the Commons voted for another referendum - in the face of opposition from May - then it's hard to see how she could implement that decision".

Victory would make the prime minister immune from a further Conservative challenge for a year under parliamentary rules, but would not resolve her central problem - how to get divided MPs to agree to her Brexit deal.

"She clearly doesn't have the confidence of the Commons".

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And this comes after May had said this was the "only deal" and said it could not be changed.

George Freeman told HuffPost UK's politics podcast, Commons People, that he believes there are two post-EU withdrawal scenarios which would see the Tories call a fresh vote.

"My focus now is on ensuring that I can get those assurances that we need to get this deal over the line, because I genuinely believe it's in the best interests of both sides - the United Kingdom and the European Union", she said.

The vote had been due to take place on Tuesday, but was dramatically pulled after the whips warned the Prime Minister she was heading for a heavy defeat unless she delayed.

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Theresa May warns not to expect 'immediate breakthrough’ over Brexit deal