Wednesday, November 13, 2019

'Lame duck for Christmas': UK papers see pyrrhic win for PM

Dec 13. 2018
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London - Britain's partisan newspapers mostly agreed on Thursday that Prime Minister Theresa May has been damaged and faces all-but-impossible Brexit hurdles despite winning her party's confidence vote.

    "It's lame duck for Christmas," the opposition Labour party-backing Daily Mirror wrote on its front page. The more independent-minded i commuter newspaper said May received a "stay of execution".

    And the Brexit-support The Sun said the "coup plot may lead to (a) historic breakup of the Tory party". May won the backing of 200 Conservative party MPs in a secret ballot on Wednesday.

    But 117 voted against her -- a margin that underscored the extent of the opposition from her own ranks to the draft withdrawal agreement May struck with EU leaders last month.

    The no-confidence vote was initiated by staunchly anti-EU MPs in May's party.

    Her deal is also opposed by Labour and smaller opposition parties in parliament that want closer ties with Brussels.

    The scale of the resistance -- and May's promise to her party on Wednesday to not contest the 2022 election -- made newspapers question the extent of the British leader's victory.

    "Tory coup fails. But scale of rebellion damages May," said the left-wing The Guardian.

    "Theresa May scrapes home," said The Times.

    The traditionally right-wing paper said five minister were now urging May to let parliament "hold a series of 'indicative' votes on every conceivable option" of Brexit.

    May pulled a vote scheduled for Tuesday on the draft agreed last month with  her 27 EU counterparts because of its certain defeat.

    She heads back to Brussels on Thursday in a long-shot bid to wrest concessions that could win her some additional votes.

    EU leaders refuse to renegotiate the actual draft but seem willing to offer May non-binding assurances on the main dispute involving measures to prevent the return of a hard border with Ireland.

    May has promised to re-submit her Brexit deal for a vote in the House of Commons by January 21.

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