Theresa May survives internal Confidence Vote but she is now on borrowed time

Theresa May survives internal Confidence Vote but she is now on borrowed time

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom survived an internal confidence vote by obtaining 200 votes to 117. In other words, the internal Conservative Party vote shows clear dissent. Also, prior to the vote, she promised to step down before the next scheduled general election. Hence, her sole focus is implementing Brexit despite having no outright mandate in parliament – and in the knowledge of huge divisions inside the chambers of power.

It means that May is in charge of a minority government that relies on the goodwill of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland. Yet, despite May’s weakened position – and agreeing to step down before the next general election – it seems that the leading opposition party, the Labour Party, will not gamble on bringing down May unless the leadership believes it is cast iron.

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), stated strongly, This result is barely even a pyrrhic victory for the prime minister, who has now admitted her time in office is limited. She may have clung on to the Conservative leadership, but her remaining authority has been fatally undermined.”

Sturgeon continued, “Even after being forced into saying she would stand down soon, almost 40% of her parliamentary group have voted against her – meaning presumably a majority of her backbenchers did so. In any normal situation, the prime minister’s position would be untenable.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey, a frontbencher who represents the Labour Party, stressed, “This deal that she has on the table will not get through Parliament.”

However, divisions within the parties of the United Kingdom are evident because some blame the Labour Party for taking a backseat approach – while the largest party in parliament is clearly divided. For example, Stephen Gethins of the SNP stressed openly that the main opposition party must “step up to the plate.”

The BBC reports, “… in a last-minute pitch to her MPs before the vote she promised to stand down as leader before the next scheduled election in 2022… While “in her heart” she wanted to fight another election as leader, she realized her party did not want her to. However, she resisted calls to put a firm date on her departure.”

May will continue to stumble on – but in the knowledge that she will not remain in the leadership role during the next scheduled general election. Hence, tensions over Brexit will continue because the main party is clearly divided. Therefore, just like the people of the United Kingdom, the political system is equally divided on the contentious issue of the European Union (EU) and Brexit – including internal political divisions.

In conclusion, May is in a more weakened position. Despite this, she will continue to strive to deliver Brexit but the minefield remains. Indeed, if anything, the water is even muddier because no position will fully satisfy the people of the United Kingdom and now the leader of the United Kingdom is on borrowed time. Similarly, no Conservative Party can deliver Brexit with the full backing of fellow members of parliament. Hence, more turmoil will unfold over the issue of Brexit.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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