13th December, 2018
Theresa May is heading to Brussels for an EU summit, the morning after surviving a vote of confidence.
The prime minister is seeking legally binding pledges from EU leaders on the “backstop” – the plan to avoid a return to a manned Northern Ireland border.
Critics say the plan will keep the UK tied to EU rules indefinitely and curb its ability to strike trade deals.
The EU says it will not renegotiate the backstop but may agree to greater assurances on its temporary nature.
It seems unlikely that would win over enough support for her Brexit plan to have a realistic chance of getting through the House of Commons, with tensions heightened in the Conservative Party in the wake of Wednesday evening’s vote.
According to BBC, Theresa May did win the ballot of Conservative MPs, on whether she should remain their party leader, by 200 votes to 117. But in a last-minute pre-vote move, she offered a promise to her MPs that she would step down before the next election.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said that sort of move tends to lead to power “draining away”, adding that the party’s “rival tribes might be now set on a course to pull her – and themselves – apart” with the expectation that at “some point she will have to change tack on Brexit”.
Speaking in Downing Street after the vote, Mrs May vowed to deliver the Brexit “people voted for” but said she had heard the concerns of MPs who voted against her.
But Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said, despite the “high drama” of Wednesday, “nothing has really changed”.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said it was now up to Mrs May to listen to her party and “push the EU… to resolve the backstop”.