LONDON (Reuters) - British lawmakers will on Wednesday vote on whether they have confidence in the government, after Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal suffered a heavy defeat in parliament.
Here is how the process, which could ultimately trigger a general election, will work:
The opposition Labour Party, backed by other smaller opposition parties, has put forward a motion which states “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will open the debate on the motion at around 1300 GMT. May will also speak in the debate and it will last until 1900 GMT.
Lawmakers will then vote on the motion at 1900 GMT, with the result due at around 1915 GMT.
There are 650 lawmakers in the House of Commons. May’s government needs 318 votes to win the vote, as seven members of the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party do not sit, four speakers do not vote and four lawmakers who help count votes, known as tellers, are not counted.
The government continues in office. However, there are no restrictions on how soon another confidence vote can be called, so Labour could put forward another no confidence motion at any point.
May does not have to resign. A 14-day period is triggered in which any party, including May’s Conservatives, can seek to form a government. To do this they would have to win a confidence vote in the House of Commons.
If a new government cannot be formed within 14 days, an election is triggered.
May does not have an outright majority in parliament but the DUP, the small Northern Irish party that props up her government, has said it will support the government. So May would only lose if enough of her own Conservative members voted against the government.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:
“The most important issue facing us is that government has lost the confidence of this house and this country ... this house can give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this government and pass that motion of no confidence”.”
Pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Justine Greening, who favors holding a second referendum:
“We don’t want a general election, this is not about party politics.”
Conservative health minister Matt Hancock:
“My party is no mood to hand over the reins to Jeremy Corbyn.”
DUP lawmaker Sammy Wilson:
“We’ll vote with the government. We’ll vote against the Labour party’s confidence motion. We want to see the Conservative government continuing to deliver on Brexit ... We never wanted a change of government, we wanted a change of policy.”
Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg, who leads an influential pro-Brexit group of Conservatives:
“I will be supporting the prime minister.”
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge