LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Wednesday to remain in office — but saw more of her power ebb away as she battled to keep Brexit on track after lawmakers demolished her European Union divorce deal.
May won a narrow victory, 325 votes to 306 votes, on an opposition motion seeking to topple her government and trigger a general election.
Now it’s back to Brexit, where May is caught between the rock of her own red lines and the hard place of a Parliament that wants to force a radical change of course.
After winning the vote, May promised to hold talks with leaders of opposition parties and other lawmakers, starting immediately, in a bid to find a way forward for Britain’s EU exit.
Legislators ripped up May’s Brexit blueprint Tuesday by rejecting the divorce agreement she has negotiated with the EU over the last two years. That it would lose was widely expected, but the scale of the rout — 432 votes to 202, the biggest defeat for a government in British parliamentary history — was devastating for May’s leadership and her Brexit deal.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn responded with the no-confidence motion, and urged the government to “do the right thing and resign.”
May, who leads a fractious government, a divided Parliament and a gridlocked Brexit process, said she was staying put. May said an election “would deepen division when we need unity, it would bring chaos when we need certainty, and it would bring delay when we need to move forward.”
The government survived Wednesday’s vote with support from May’s Conservative Party and its Northern Irish ally, the Democratic Unionist Party. Many pro-Brexit Conservatives who voted against May’s deal, backed her in the no-confidence vote to avoid an election that could bring a left-wing Labour government to power.
Had the government lost, Britain would have faced a snap election within weeks, just before the country is due to leave the European Union on March 29.
Political analyst Anand Menon, from the research group U.K. in a Changing Europe, said May had a remarkable ability to soldier on.
“The thing about Theresa May is that nothing seems to faze her,” he said. “She just keeps on going.”
May’s determination — or, as her foes see it, her inflexibility — might not be an asset in a situation calling for a change of course. The prime minister has until Monday to come up with a new Brexit plan, and has promised to consult with senior lawmakers from across the political spectrum on her next moves.
But she also said any new Brexit plan must “deliver on the referendum result,” which May has long interpreted to mean ending the free movement of workers to Britain from the EU and leaving the EU’s single market and customs union.
Many lawmakers think a softer departure that retained single market or customs union membership is the only plan capable of winning a majority in Parliament. They fear the alternative is an abrupt “no-deal” withdrawal from the bloc, which businesses and economists fear would cause turmoil.
Labour lawmaker Ben Bradshaw accused May of being “in a total state of denial” about how radically her Brexit plan needed to change.
Green party legislator Caroline Lucas said May’s intransigence had led to the current crisis.
“This is a national calamity of the prime minister’s own making,” Lucas said. “Today has to be the day when we start to change the conversation about Brexit.”
Faced with the deadlock, lawmakers from all parties are trying to wrest control of the Brexit process so that Parliament can direct planning for Britain’s departure.
But with no clear majority in Parliament for any single alternative, there’s a growing chance that Britain may seek to postpone its departure date while politicians work on a new plan — or even hand the decision back to voters in a new referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
Pro-EU lawmaker Dominic Grieve introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to lay the groundwork for a second referendum, which he called “the only way out of the current crisis.”
European leaders are now preparing for the worst, although German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was still time for further talks. She told reporters in Berlin that “we are now waiting to see what the British prime minister proposes.”
But her measured remarks contrasted with the blunt message from French President Emmanuel Macron, who told Britons to “figure it out yourselves.” He said Britain needed to get realistic about what was possible.
“Good luck to the representatives of the nation who have to implement something that doesn’t exist,” Macron said.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc was stepping up preparations for a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit after Parliament’s actions left Europe “fearing more than ever that there is a risk” of a cliff-edge departure.
Economists warn that an abrupt break with the EU could batter the British economy and bring chaos at borders, ports and airports. Business groups have expressed alarm at the prospect of a no-deal exit.
France’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a law allowing for emergency measures, including extra customs officers, to deal with a “no-deal” Brexit.
May’s deal was doomed by deep opposition from both sides of the divide over the U.K.’s place in Europe. Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal will leave Britain bound indefinitely to EU rules, while pro-EU politicians favour an even closer economic relationship with the bloc.
The most contentious section was an insurance policy known as the “backstop” designed to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state. Assurances from EU leaders that the backstop is intended as a temporary measure of last resort failed to win over many British lawmakers.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said it was now up to opponents of the backstop “to come up with an alternative solution to honour their commitment to avoiding a hard border.”
Varadkar said if May’s government was willing to shift some of its “red lines” in negotiations — such as leaving the customs union and EU single market — then the position of EU negotiators would also change.
“The onus is on Westminster” to come up with solutions, Varadkar said.
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Ontario-based Firm Announces Services for Divorce Mediation in Vaughan
Mazzeo Law, a top firm in Ontario has announced services for divorce mediation in Vaughan.
The firm, which specialises in family law including child and spousal support, child custody and domestic contracts, also helps clients who need legal support for cases relating to real estate laws as well as wills and estates.
A family lawyer for the firm noted, “Divorce can be very difficult for all parties involved so from our end, we support our clients by providing prompt and efficient service to ease their burden. Our divorce mediation experts are backed by years of legal experience and expertise, and we work closely with our clients to build a legal framework that will lead to an optimal conclusion.”
The same family lawyer in Vaughan further noted that, when handling divorce proceedings, a main focus for the firm is providing clients with clear answers. He added, “There is a lot of uncertainty in these situations. Clients are worried about their children, their financial future, and so many other things. This is the reason why we have established our practice based on long-term support and guidance.”
The Ontario Ministry of Attorney General’s website defines mediation as a “voluntary way of resolving disputes.” A mediation may be open or closed. In an open mediation, the process is not confidential and the mediator can prepare a report once the process is completed. In a closed mediation, all discussions are confidential and cannot be used as evidence against either party, with few exceptions. The mediator will also not report to the lawyers or to the court regarding the progress of the mediation, and he or she will not provide an opinion on the issues discussed to anyone other than the parties involved.
Earlier this year, Canada’s federal government proposed amendments to the Divorce Act. According to a report, the main thrust of the amendments is to prioritise the child’s best interests and mitigate the adversarial tendency of court proceedings following the divorce. The proposed amendments also take into consideration measures that will address issues of family violence and encourage parties involved to focus more on dispute resolution services, such as mediation.
Other key points in the amendments, as specified by The Vanier Institute of the Family, include updating of “adversarial language” such as “custody” and “access” to terms such as “parenting orders” and “parenting time”; establishing of clear guidelines for relocation of children; and making it easier to collect child or spousal support.
In addition to divorce mediation, the Vaughan-headquartered firm also provides divorce filing services. While spouses can file a divorce application on their own, it is always strongly recommended to consult with a reputable family lawyer. A lawyer can best advise on how to manage the effects of the divorce on a person’s rights and obligations, especially concerning children, assets, liabilities and future obligations.
“Deciding to and going through with divorce is not an easy decision to make. There is no way to go around it; it can be very challenging and frustrating,” the attorney for the firm said. “Working with an experienced firm can help ensure a peaceful and mutually beneficial conclusion for both spouses, be it through negotiation, mediation or arbitration.”
To learn more about divorce mediation in Vaughan or to book a consultation with a lawyer, visit the firm’s website.
Contact us at any time:
3300 Hwy 7 Suite 904
Vaughan, Ontario L4K 4M3
LONDON — British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal with the European Union on Tuesday, plunging the Brexit process into chaos and triggering a no-confidence vote that could topple her government.
The defeat was widely expected, but the scale of the House of Commons’ vote — 432 votes against the government and 202 in support — was devastating for May’s fragile leadership.
It followed more than two years of political upheaval in which May has staked her political reputation on getting a Brexit deal and was the biggest defeat for a government in the House of Commons in modern history.
Moments after the result was announced — with Speaker John Bercow bellowing “the noes have it” to a packed Commons chamber — May said it was only right to test whether the government still had lawmakers’ support to carry on. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn quickly obliged, saying May’s government had lost the confidence of Parliament.
Lawmakers will vote Wednesday on his motion of no-confidence. If the government loses, it will have 14 days to overturn the result or face a national election.
Although May lacks an overall majority in Parliament, she looks likely to survive the vote unless lawmakers from her Conservative party rebel. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May’s government, said it would support her.
“The House has spoken and the government will listen,” May said after the vote, which leaves her Brexit plan on life support just 10 weeks before the country is due to leave the EU on March 29.
May promised to consult lawmakers on future moves, but gave little indication of what she plans to do next. Parliament has given the government until Monday to come up with a new proposal.
She faces a stark choice: Steer the country toward an abrupt “no-deal” break with the EU or try to nudge it toward a softer departure. Meanwhile, lawmakers from both government and opposition parties are trying to wrest control of the Brexit process from a paralyzed government, so that lawmakers by majority vote can specify a new plan for Britain’s EU exit.
But with no clear majority in Parliament for any single alternate course, there is a growing chance that Britain may seek to postpone its departure date while politicians work on a new plan — or even hand the decision back to voters in a new referendum on EU membership.
“If you can’t resolve the impasse here in Westminster, than you have to refer it back to the people,” said Labour Party lawmaker Chuka Umunna, who supports a second referendum.
May, who had postponed a vote on the deal in December to avoid certain defeat, had implored lawmakers to back her deal and deliver on voters’ decision in 2016 to leave the EU.
But the deal was doomed by deep opposition from both sides of the divide over U.K.’s place in the bloc. Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal will leave Britain bound indefinitely to EU rules, while pro-EU politicians favour an even closer economic relationship with Europe.
The most contentious section of the deal was an insurance policy known as the “backstop” designed to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. Assurances from EU leaders that the backstop is intended as a temporary measure of last resort completely failed to win over many British skeptics.
Two and a half years after the referendum, Britain remains divided over how, and whether, to leave the EU.
As lawmakers debated in the chamber, there was a cacophony of chants, drums and music from rival bands of pro-EU and pro-Brexit protesters outside. One group waved blue-and-yellow EU flags, the other brandished “Leave Means Leave” placards.
Inside, the government and opposition parties ordered lawmakers to cancel all other plans to be on hand for the crucial vote. Labour legislator Tulip Siddiq delayed the scheduled cesarean birth of her son so she could attend, arriving in a wheelchair
Some Conservatives want May to seek further talks with EU leaders on changes before bringing a tweaked version of the bill back to Parliament, even though EU officials insist the 585-page withdrawal agreement cannot be renegotiated.
Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said May was unlikely to get changes to her deal from that could “placate her Brexiteers.”
“Or, she reaches out to Labour and goes for a softer Brexit than most Brexiteers would contemplate” — but which the EU might accept, Bale said.
Frustrated EU leaders called on May to make her intentions clear on the future of Brexit.
“Now, it is time for the U.K. to tell us the next steps,” said Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker — who returned to Brussels late Tuesday to deal with fallout from the vote — said the rejection of May’s deal had increased “the risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom.”
“Time is almost up,” he said.
Economists warn that an abrupt break from the EU could batter the British economy and bring chaotic scenes at borders, ports and airports. Business groups expressed alarm at the prospect of a “no-deal” exit.
“Every business will feel no-deal is hurtling closer,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry. “A new plan is needed immediately.”
European Council President Donald Tusk highlighted the quagmire the U.K. had sunk into, and hinted that the best solution might be for Britain not to leave.
“If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” he tweeted.
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