On December 17, Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to set the parliamentary vote on Brexit for the week of January 14. May postponed a vote on the plan last week in the face of opposition from her own conservative Tory party.

In her announcement at the House of Commons, May said, "We intend to return to the 'Meaningful Vote' debate in the week commencing seventh of January, and hold the vote the following week." In her statement, May rejected the idea of a second referendum vote to back out of Brexit. She argued that her agreement to keep close economic ties with the EU after Brexit is the only option to avoid “irreparable” division among UK citizens, saying, "Let us not break faith with the British people by trying to stage another referendum."

No-confidence vote

May’s announcement follows closely behind her survival of the vote of no-confidence in the House of Commons. The vote was called by members of her own party.  According to party rules, May will retain leadership of the conservative Tories and will not face another challenge for at least one year.

Implications of a January vote

May postponed the vote when it became clear that the plan would not pass by an overwhelming majority. The vote was originally scheduled for the week of December 10. The decision to push it back, however, is met with anger by both pro-Brexit legislators and dissenters alike.

May is accused of deliberately wasting time by delaying the vote several weeks. The delayed vote, which will take place just 10 weeks before the March 29 Brexit date, will arguably pressure a deeply divided parliament into backing her deal by pushing it closer to exit day. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party in the UK, said, “The prime minister has cynically run down the clock trying to maneuver Parliament into a choice between two unacceptable outcomes: her deal and no deal.”

May maintains that the delay is an effort to find a way out of the UK’s Brexit impasse and prevent the chaos and economic damage that would result from a “no deal” exit from the EU in March.


To learn more about the delayed Brexit vote, visit AP News, NPR, and France 24 coverage sites.