Jeremy Corbyn tables a motion of no confidence in Theresa May

Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion of no confidence in Theresa May, after she said MPs would not vote on her Brexit deal until next year

Theresa May told MPs they would not be able to vote on her Brexit deal until the week of 14 January
Theresa May told MPs they would not be able to vote on her Brexit deal until the week of 14 January

Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion of no confidence in Theresa May, after she said MPs would not vote on her Brexit deal until the week of 14 January.

The PM had delayed the vote from last week, admitting she was set to lose.

Labour leader Corbyn said on Monday it was unacceptable for MPs to wait a month to vote, adding the PM had led the UK into a "national crisis".

But No 10 sources told reporters that the government would not make time for the no-confidence vote.

Ministers would not "go along with silly political games", they said.

Corbyn tabled the motion calling on MPs to declare they have "no confidence in the prime minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straightaway" on the Brexit deal.

The motion focuses on May personally, rather than the government.

The SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have tried to force Labour to bring about that situation, by trying to amend Corbyn's motion. 

But Corbyn said his aim in tabling the motion was to put pressure on her to have a vote on her Brexit deal this week.

May's Brexit deal sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March 2019 and includes a declaration on the outline of the future relations between the UK and the EU.

But the deal only comes into force if both parliaments approve it.

May told MPs they would have the chance to vote on the deal she negotiated with Brussels in the third week of January.

Corbyn said by then a month would have been wasted since the original 11 December vote was postponed, with "not a single word renegotiated and not a single reassurance given... The deal is unchanged and is not going to change.. The House must get on with the vote and move on to consider the realistic alternatives."

However, Corbyn came under fire from other opposition parties for limiting his no-confidence motion to the prime minister.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon tweeted, "Labour tabling a motion just in the PM rather than in the entire government begs the question, which Tory do they want to see as PM?"

And Nigel Dodds, of Northern Ireland's DUP, which has propped up the Conservative government since June 2017, said, "we are not interested in the parliamentary antics or play-acting of the Labour Party."

But Corbyn told reporters late on Monday, "we haven't failed to trigger any process. It's this government that is denying Parliament the right to vote on this process, that's why I tabled the motion."

May appeared to have the support of pro-Brexit backbench critics who last week failed in a bid to oust her as Tory leader.

One of them, Steve Baker, said, "Eurosceptic Conservatives are clear that we accept the democratic decision of our party to have confidence in Theresa May as PM. We will vote against Labour in any confidence motion."

On Monday, Theresa May had rejected the idea of a second referendum as it would 'break faith' with the British people

In a statement to parliament on Monday, May rejected growing demands for a second referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, warning it would "further divide" the country and "break faith" with the British people.

May dismissed calls from leading public figures, including former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major, for a rerun of the 2016 vote suggesting it would do "irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics".

"It would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver," May said. "Another vote which would likely leave us no further forward than the last."

Nearly 52% of Britons more than 17 million people  voted to leave the EU during a divisive referendum held in June 2016. Turnout for the poll was more than 72%.

The UK is now set to leave the 28-member bloc on March 29 next year, two years after it triggered Article 50, the exit clause in the EU's constitution and kick-started negotiations with European leaders over a divorce deal.

But May's proposed deal, brokered after months of back-and-forth between London and Brussels, has proved widely unpopular among parliamentarians.

Last week, she pulled a so-called "meaningful vote" on the plan, acknowledging it would have been roundly rejected by the UK's lower chamber House of Commons.

The move triggered disgruntled Eurosceptic Conservative MPs to move for a vote of confidence on her leadership, which she narrowly survived in a secret ballot on December 12.

In an effort to assuage critics from within her own party and across the political spectrum, May attended an EU Council summit in Brussels the following day, where she pleaded with her counterparts in the bloc to make concessions on the UK-EU withdrawal agreement's contentious "Irish backstop" clause.

EU officials refused to blink, however, and maintained that no amendments to the deal would be forthcoming.

But on Monday, May told parliament she had won private assurances from her European counterparts at the Brussels summit that there was "no plot" to keep the UK in the backstop and that they wanted to avoid having to activate the safety net provision, which would guarantee no hard border is erected on the island of Ireland in the event that post-Brexit trade negotiations between the UK and the bloc prove unsuccessful.

"I know this is not everyone’s perfect deal. It is a compromise. But if we let the perfect be the enemy of the good then we risk leaving the EU with no deal," May said.

"Avoiding no deal is only possible if we can reach an agreement or if we abandon Brexit entirely," she added.

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