British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday secured legally binding assurances that the European Union won't use the Brexit withdrawal agreement to keep the U.K. entangled in EU rules "indefinitely," The Washington Post reports. The agreement apparently guarantees that the so-called Irish backstop, intended to keep open the border between Britain's Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, won't tie the U.K. to EU customs and trade regulations forever.
May rushed to Strasbourg, France, to strike the deal with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a bid to avoid a devastating loss in a planned Tuesday vote on her Brexit plan less than three weeks before Britain is scheduled to leave the European trading bloc. Harold Maass
British Prime Minister Theresa May faces likely defeat in a key Parliament vote on her Brexit plan on Tuesday, with at least 70 members of her Conservative Party publicly committed to joining opposition lawmakers against her proposed deal with the European Union, Bloomberg reports. May made a last-minute appeal for support on Monday, after postponing a vote before Christmas in hopes she could win over lawmakers.
Many Brexit supporters say May's deal gives too much control to the EU to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland, part of the U.K., and Ireland, an EU member. The fate of May's plan is believed to hinge on the magnitude of her expected defeat. A narrow loss would let her seek more concessions from Brussels; a humiliating loss could force her to delay Britain's scheduled March 29 departure from the EU, Reuters reports. Harold Maass
At least 48 Conservative Party members of Britain's Parliament have signed a letter to trigger a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May. Graham Brady, leader of the 1922 Committee that oversees Tory leadership contests, says the vote will happen between 6 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, London time (1-3 p.m. ET). If May gets fewer than 158 votes, or a majority of Conservative MPs, she will be forced to step down and the Tories would vote on a new leader. If she wins, she can't be challenged again for another year.
The leadership challenge is from pro-Brexit Conservatives who are concerned that she is bungling Britain's divorce from the European Union, especially after she pulled her unpopular Brexit plan before a House of Commons vote on Monday. "Normally when a prime minister loses her main policy she resigns, that is the main constitutional convention, they don't just carry on regardless," Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a former May ally who signed the no-confidence letter, told CNBC on Tuesday. "The prime minister only holds office as long as she maintains the confidence of the House of Commons." Peter Weber