May’s proposal faces historic loss

Brexit plan falls by a vote of 432-202; only clear future on EU exit is deadline


Photo Courtesy of Flickr user Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 | Theresa May’s proposal for Brexit was defeated in Parliament by a vote of 432-202. The 230 vote difference was the worst defeat in the modern British Government era. The U.K. has until March 29 to pass an exit plan.


British Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposal for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) was overwhelmingly opposed by a historic margin in the British Parliament on Jan. 15.

The result of the vote comes on the heels of eight days of parliamentary debates in which members of the Prime Minister’s conservative party voiced opposition to her Brexit deal.

May’s proposal was rejected by a vote 432-202.  The record 230-vote difference was the worst parliamentary defeat in modern British government era. Of the 430 votes against the proposal, 113 came from her own Conservative party. The vote decreases the likelihood for an agreement to be reached before the March 29 deadline, the date the U.K. must have a plan to leave the EU.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn stated that “one of the former Brexit secretaries  promised a ‘detailed,’ ‘precise’ and ‘substantive’ document…The government spectacularly failed in providing a ‘detailed,’ ‘precise’ and ‘substantive’ document.”

In his call to vote against the proposal, he critiqued the proposal’s lack of clarity, checks and control and failure to mention frictionless trade.

May said the proposal provided certainty for business and protections for the rights of EU citizens in the U.K. and U.K. citizens in the EU. Additionally, May insisted the proposal provided the “deepest security partnership in EU history” and an “unprecedented economic relationship with the EU.”

On June 23, 2016, 51.9 percent of voters supported withdrawal from the European Union.  In her Prime Minister address prior to the Jan. 15 vote, May called on the parliament to honor the 2016 results, by voting for the proposal.

May faced a no-confidence vote 24 hours aftershe offered the proposal. The Prime Minister is now meeting with leaders of different parties with the goal of finding a way to finalize a Brexit plan.

“The Brexit process is the British attempt to deal with the collapse of their empire and the growing reality that they are no longer a leading state in Europe,”  Xavier political science professor Dr.  Timothy White said, “Advocates of Brexit simplistically believed that they could recreate an idealized isolated state when in fact isolation will only further the economic demise of Britain. In a practical sense, Brexit has opened up the reality that the United Kingdom itself is fractured as is British public opinion”

White pointed this in part to politicians who provide concise answers to rather complex challenges;  by deluding themselves and their followers by “not providing the sober analysis of reality that real leaders would provide.”

The only clear aspect of Brexit’s future is the impending deadline. Without a deal, there could devastating economic ramifications.

“Brexit is interesting to watch from afar without having a horse in a race,” said first-year history major John Higgins said. He cites the importance of Brexit as the United States are both allies with the U.K. and the nations of the EU. He believes it may be more difficult working with them separately.

Eight amendments have been introduced to fix May’s plan. One amendment proposes giving Parliament the power to debate a range of options, including a second refrendum or an even softer exit. 


By: Jabari Turner | Staff Writer