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What happens with Brexit after May survives leadership vote

December 12, 2018
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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a brush with political mortality Wednesday, winning a no-confidence vote of her Conservative lawmakers that would have ended her leadership of party and country. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May won a no-confidence vote by lawmakers from her party Wednesday. Fellow Conservatives who object to some terms of the Brexit deal May’s government struck with the European Union initiated the challenge that would have ended her leadership of both the party and the country.

May said after the results were in that she plans to keep pursuing an agreement that Parliament will support before Britain’s departure from the European Union, set for March 29. These are the next steps as she tries to win approval for her proposed Brexit deal:

LOBBYING EU LEADERS FOR CONCESSIONS

May plans to attend a two-day summit starting Thursday in Brussels and try to convince remaining EU leaders to sweeten the divorce deal now on the table.

She needs to do so because strong opposition to the existing agreement exists in all of the U.K.‘s political parties, including May’s own. The Conservatives’ 200-117 no-confidence vote illustrates the deep resistance she faces.

WHAT KIND OF RECEPTION CAN MAY EXPECT IN BRUSSELS?

Europe’s key power brokers have said they are unwilling to renegotiate the legally binding agreement that has been agreed to by May’s government and the bloc’s other members.

However, EU leaders indicated willingness this week to consider statements that might make it easier for May to persuade the reluctant Parliament to pass the plan.

The main sticking point, as it has been almost from the start of negotiations, is the post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., and Ireland, which is an EU country. Critics in May’s party don’t like how the current deal proposes dealing with customs checks, taxes and trade issues the U.K. hasn’t had to consider as an EU member.

HOW LONG DOES SHE HAVE TO WIN PARLIAMENT’S BACKING?

May has said she intends to bring the proposed agreement to Parliament for a vote by Jan. 21. A vote originally was scheduled for Tuesday night, but the prime minister acknowledged lawmakers would reject the deal if they considered it then.

Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, so there is significant time pressure for progress.

MAY COULD FACE ANOTHER “NO-CONFIDENCE” VOTE

Her victory on Wednesday means Conservative Party members cannot try to oust May as their standard-bearer in the next year. However, the prime minister’s still could be the subject of a confidence vote in Parliament’s House of Commons.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has indicated his party would trigger such a vote when it was likely to pass. Smaller parties have pressed Corbyn to challenge May sooner not later.

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