On 16 January, Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence in her government. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn put this in motion after MPs voted 432 to 202 against her Brexit deal on 15 January.
— Sam Ellis (@SamCEllis) January 16, 2019
Earlier in the day, Corbyn pointed out that she’s leading “a zombie government” and is in a “state of denial” about these historic events and the destruction she’s caused in the UK. Despite losing by such a vast majority on her Brexit deal, she was bolstered even by MPs who disagree with her approach to Brexit. But still, she only won by 19 votes.
During the closing speeches, Labour’s Tom Watson said May lacked the “political skills, the empathy… and most crucially the policy to lead”:
Theresa May is "a prime minister without a majority for her flagship policy", lacking the "political skills, the empathy… and most crucially the policy to lead this country" – Tom Watson closing the no confidence debate for Labour
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) January 16, 2019
And many people applauded his words:
Great Speech by #tomwatson. It is time this government fell before Britain falls.
— Voyage Around My Dad, Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) January 16, 2019
Labour deputy leader @tom_watson delivers a very different tone of speech. He does not doubt May's intentions, but says she has failed and must resign. Quietly damning, and all the more effective for it.
— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) January 16, 2019
His eloquence was in complete contrast to arch-Brexiteer Michael Gove, who preferred to smear his way around the despatch box:
Nothing sums up the degeneration of the modern Conservative Party than the sight of their benches braying & screaming for “more” of @michaelgove’s Daily Mail-style smears, falsehoods & downright lies. They have all the intellectual maturity of a set of schoolyard bullies.
— Ben Sellers (@MrBenSellers) January 16, 2019
Michael Gove used his speech in the No Confidence debate to push the same lies & smears against Jeremy Corbyn used in the last General Election that were rejected by the public & lost the Tories their majority. No defence of their record, they have no more to offer.
— Dan Carden MP (@DanCardenMP) January 16, 2019
When they go low we go high. Smears & theatrics from Boris’s bus buddy Michael Gove is not going to cover up this cold, callous Tory government’s record & their incompetence in the Brexit negotiations.
— Lesley Laird (@LesleyLaird) January 16, 2019
Michael Gove is throwing a tantrum basically #NoConfidenceMotion – he needs to GO!
— BENEFITS NEWS (@BENEFITS_NEWS) January 16, 2019
Many people took to Twitter to express their feelings following the results:
Sad result but not surprising. I just feel bad for the millions of people suffering under this dysfunctional government. Britian deserves better then these lot. #noconfidencemotion
— Justin (@justinshotton1) January 16, 2019
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) January 16, 2019
And we’re back to square one again. No deal, no plan, no way forward. This is politics as trench warfare. #NoConfidenceMotion
— Spar4 (@Mckendrick36) January 16, 2019
— Sex Ed-Drew-cation (@drew8799) January 16, 2019
The one thing that’s clear is that the British public have no confidence in this government 😑 #NoConfidenceMotion
— Victoria Woods (@_vicccc) January 16, 2019
Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, has refused to discuss the issue further until May rules out a no-deal Brexit. The Lib Dems echoed this. And the SNP insisted she must be “willing to discuss extending article 50 and holding a second referendum before they agreed to participate”.
The government has confidence in itself. But no one else does.
What next? Therein lies the problem. Because May hauled the country into chaos. And following this vote, that only continues. Had she lost, the prospect of a general election gave hope to millions of people hit by almost nine years of Tory-led austerity.
Since the outset, Brexit has been a divisive issue. And with May still using it to prop herself up, it’s also helping to destroy the country.
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