British lawmakers begin debating Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit package this week, before a final vote on December 11. Over one hundred members of her own Conservative Party, government coalition allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, and all opposition parties say they’ll reject the plan. Science Minister Sam Gyimah also quit on Friday, as the 22nd ministerial resignation from PM May’s government since last year’s election.
Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said that it was “inevitable” that the opposition party would propose a no confidence motion if, as is widely expected, the Prime Minister’s deal is rejected. In that event, an early general election is anticipated. Labour have long expressed a preference for an election if PM May can’t get her deal through Parliament. Mr. Starmer said Sunday that “If she’s lost a vote of this significance after two years of negotiation, then it is right that there should be a general election.”
The U.K.’s Fixed Term Parliaments Act stipulates that, after losing a confidence vote, parties would have two weeks to form another administration that can command a majority in the House of Commons. If nobody can, an election automatically is called. On Sunday, Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis said, “the best way to prevent” such a vote is “get this deal through Parliament on December 11.” The motion would be separate from a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister herself, which would be triggered if 48 members of her own party submit letters to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of rank-and-file Conservatives.
Conservative lawmaker Nick Boles, who is advocating a plan to join the European Free Trade Association and keep Britain inside the EU’s single market, said he’s had conversations with six to eight members of the cabinet about his proposal. Mr. Boles said he intends to vote for PM May’s deal, but he thinks she should step down before the next election.