Dec 12, 2018

Theresa May survives no-confidence vote over Brexit plan

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May still has her job. Rebels in her Conservative Party forced a no-confidence vote in objection to her Brexit plan, but did not convince a majority of the party's members of Parliament to oust her. The final vote was 200-117 in May's favor.

What's next: May is severely weakened. In an effort to secure her short-term survival, she said she would not be a candidate in the next general election. That election could come long ahead of schedule — odds of a parliamentary deadlock over her plan still look high, and her government could well collapse before she sees Brexit through. One upside for her: The hardline Brexiteers are now weakened too after their plot to topple her failed.

What they're saying:

  • FT: "May was forced to tell MPs she would not lead the Tories into the next election, while the confidence vote brought into the public glare the scale of the enmity now felt within her party."
  • The London Times: "The margin was far less than Downing Street had hoped for and looks certain to create more political uncertainty."
  • BBC: "[T]he margin of victory is a 'real blow' to the PM's authority."
  • The Telegraph's Europe editor: "EU diplomats continue to look on with a mixture of pity, frustration and despair as British democracy wrestles with the many-headed Hydra that is Brexit, and the hard choices it poses."

What's next: May gave brief remarks from Downing Street after the vote, saying she was "pleased" with the result and ready to “get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people.”

  • "She is now expected to travel to a summit in Brussels on Thursday to continue trying to persuade EU leaders to change the deal — they have previously said it can not be renegotiated," per BBC.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins