Theresa May Is Not Politically Dead Yet

Theresa May Is Not Politically Dead Yet

Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday suffered the worst parliamentary defeat for a British leader in 95 years, with the House of Commons voting 432-202 to reject her proposed withdrawal plan from the EU. Given the size of the rebuke, why is Theresa May not politically dead yet?

The fact of her survival suggests that far from a Brexit breakthrough, Britain is now heading for a period of severe political paralysis. Here's why:



A Domestic Stalemate – After May's defeat yesterday, the opposition Labour Party immediately announced its intention to trigger a motion of no confidence. A vote on the motion will take place this evening, which, if successful, would prompt new elections if another figure isn't able to form a government within 14 days. To topple May today, Labour would need significant Conservative defections.

But although 118 of 316 Conservative MPs opposed May's Brexit deal, they'll be reluctant to bring her down simply to hand power over to the opposition. Nor can Conservatives replace her with an alternative figure this year, after a previous attempt to do so failed. For better or worse, May's likely to soldier on.

Negotiating Plan B – That leaves as the only real option negotiations with EU leaders to try and reach a deal that can gain broader support at home. The timeline is tight: in just three days, May must deliver a Plan B to Parliament.

The size of yesterday's defeat suggests that it will take more than modest tweaks to get such a deal across the line. Instead, May will now face growing pressure to seek a much "softer" Brexit that maintains close ties between the UK and EU.

This approach has two distinct advantages: first, members of the opposition Labour Party might be persuaded to support it, though hardline Conservatives would almost certainly bolt. Second, EU leaders will be inclined to be more lenient if it means preserving close relations with the UK down the road.

But May needs more time. Britain is currently scheduled to leave the EU on March 29 – with or without a deal. EU leaders in Brussels are likely resigned to the necessity of extending that deadline to avoid an economically disruptive "no-deal" scenario. But even if May returns home with a "better" agreement, there's no guarantee that it will pass in Parliament.

The bigger problem is that yesterday's vote didn't resolve the basic question of whether there's actually a specific Brexit plan that a majority of UK parliamentarians can actually agree on. As that reality starts to sink in, politicians on both sides of the issue may decide the only way forward is a second referendum to try to clarify the desire of the British people.

People working at computers in a room labeled Malware Lab

Microsoft observed destructive malware in systems belonging to several Ukrainian government agencies and organizations that work closely with the Ukrainian government. The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) published a technical blog post detailing Microsoft’s ongoing investigation and how the security community can detect and defend against this malware. Microsoft shared this information over the weekend to help others in the cybersecurity community look out for and defend against these attacks. To read more visit Microsoft On the Issues.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Happy Tuesday after the long weekend for those of us that had a long weekend. I thought I would kick us off with the first major foreign policy crisis of the Biden administration. And that is of course, Russia-Ukraine. Afghanistan, of course, was a debacle, but not exactly a global crisis. This of course has the potential to really change the way we think about European security and about US relations with the other major nuclear power in the world. So, I would say that the level of concern is even higher and there are a lot of things we can say.
More Show less
The looming pandemic debt cliff

Right on the buzzer, Sri Lanka on Tuesday narrowly avoided its first-ever default on its sovereign debt. But the cash-strapped country is still on the hook for a lot more cash this year, which is shaping up to be a very painful one for low-income countries deep in the red due to COVID.

More Show less
The Graphic Truth: Deep in the red with China

The pandemic has thrown many already-indebted countries further into the red. The problem is two-pronged for many Asian, African, and Latin American countries. They have taken on huge amounts of debt from the IMF to weather pandemic-related economic uncertainty, while also being caught up in a debt trap set by China, which funds large infrastructure projects in developing states but often with complex or misleading fine print. We take a look at which countries out of a group of 24 surveyed states owe China the most compared to their respective IMF debts.

Ukrainian former President Petro Poroshenko gestures as he walks to address supporters upon arrival at Zhulyany airport in Kyiv, Ukraine January 17, 2022.

Ukraine’s political woes. While Russia maintains tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, domestic politics in Kyiv are becoming increasingly contentious. This week, former President Petro Poroshenko — who was elected in 2014 after the Maidan Revolution ousted a longtime Putin ally and then defeated for re-election in 2019 — has now returned to Ukraine after a month abroad to face a host of criminal charges. Those charges include treason, an alleged crime related to his decision to sign government contracts to buy coal from mines held by Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Poronshenko, a businessman worth $1.6 billion, says the deal was necessary to keep Ukraine from economic collapse and that the charges are an attempt by current President Volodomyr Zelensky to distract from unfavorable perceptions of the country’s (currently lousy) economic outlook. He also calls it a manufactured crisis and a “gift” to the Kremlin, because it distracts from Russia’s ongoing aggression. Also, on Friday US Secretary of State Tony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to continue talks on resolving the Ukraine standoff.

More Show less
The Taliban’s never-ending crisis

Afghanistan has now become what the UN is labeling the planet’s worst humanitarian disaster. Indeed, last week the world body issued its largest-ever donor appeal for a single country to battle the worsening crisis there, caused by freezing temperatures, frozen assets, and the cold reception the Taliban have received from the international community since they took over last summer.

More Show less
A newborn baby is seen being cared for in the ward of the hospital neonatal care center. The results of the seventh national census of China will be released soon, and some institutions predict that the birth rate will be lower than the death rate for the first time.

7.52: Birth rates in China dropped to a record low 7.52 per 1,000 people in 2021, down from 10.41 in 2019. This comes as the Chinese Communist Party is trying very hard to boost birth rates to revive a slowing economy.

More Show less

China’s homegrown COVID vaccines were once crucial — but they're not as effective against omicron as mRNA jabs.

What's more, with with local cases near zero for the better part of the pandemic, most Chinese have no natural immunity. That could spell disaster for Beijing as omicron surges.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, warns that the highly transmissible new variant will make zero COVID harder and harder to sustain.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal