British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a political firestorm on Monday after announcing that a vote on the Brexit agreement has now been pushed back to the second half of next month.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn threatened to submit a motion of no confidence in the prime minister to ensure a vote takes place this week, only four days before parliament’s holiday recess.
“It’s very clear that it’s bad, unacceptable that we should be waiting almost a month before we have a meaningful vote on the crucial issue facing the future of this country,” Corbyn said.
“The prime minister has obdurately refused to ensure a vote took place on the date she agreed, she refuses to allow a vote to take place this week and is now, I assume, thinking the vote will be on Jan. 14 — almost a month away,” he said.
“This is unacceptable in any way whatsoever.”
Corbyn’s reaction followed May’s announcement that the withdrawal agreement reached with the EU will see a “meaningful vote” in the week commencing Jan. 14.
Corbyn continued: “So, as the only way I can think of ensuring a vote takes place this week, I’m about to table a motion which says the following:
‘That this House has no confidence in the prime minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away on the withdrawal agreement and framework for future relationships between the UK and European Union.’
“That will be tabled immediately, Mr. Speaker.”
Labour later said in a statement that “with the risk of a no confidence vote in her leadership, we have forced the PM to bring her botched Brexit deal back to Parliament.”
It added: “She wanted to waste time to create a false choice between her bad deal and no deal.
“But we won’t let her.”
The Scottish National Party leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, also got a green light for an emergency debate on May’s handling the Brexit issue with European leaders last week at an EU summit.
Parliament Speaker John Bercow said he will announce the time of the debate later.
Local media reports and political analysts say Corbyn will submit a motion of no confidence in government if May refuses to give time for a debate on the fresh motion, as the government does not have to allow time for it to be debated, unlike a motion targeting confidence in government.
The result of a vote of no confidence in the prime minister would not be binding on May’s premiership but would ask MPs to declare they have “no confidence in the prime minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away” on the Brexit deal.
British voters decided to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum after the country’s more than four-decade membership.
The U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.