She urges cross-party consensus on Brexit. British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence in her government by a margin of 19 votes, thanks to the backing of the 10 members of the DUP. But the PM saw off a bid to remove her government from power by 325 to 306 votes, as her plan for leaving the EU was rejected by 230 votes on Tuesday night.
Now Theresa May is meeting MPs to try to find a way forward for Brexit. Afterwards, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to join talks unless the threat of a no-deal exit was ruled out.
The PM said she wanted to approach discussions in a "constructive spirit". She is to publish her new plan on EU withdrawal to Parliament on Monday, 21 January, with a full debate and the key vote on it scheduled for Tuesday, 29 January. Speaking outside Downing Street after talks on Wednesday night with the Lib Dems, SNP and Plaid Cymru, Mrs May called on MPs to "put self-interest aside".
"It will not be an easy task, but MPs know they
have a duty to act in the national interest, reach a consensus and get this done,” she said. The prime minister is holding meetings with both Tory Brexiteers and the DUP - both of whom rejected her withdrawal deal earlier this week yesterday. BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said that Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington and Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay are also holding talks with senior opposition politicians. So far, Mrs May has met with Ian Blackford, the SNPs Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymrus Westminster leader, Sir Vince Cable, Lib Dem leader, Caroline Lucas, the Green Partys only MP, Tory Brexiteer Nigel Evans, Nigel Dodds, DUP Westminster leader and Arlene Foster, DUP leader.
And ministers and senior Tories have been arriving at Downing Street to continue talks with parliamentarians and MPs from other parties, including Tory colleagues Owen Paterson, Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis, Mark Francois and Steve Baker, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham and a vice-chair of the 1922 Committee, Hilary Benn, Labour MP and chairman of the Brexit select committee, Adam Price, Plaid Cymru leader, Yvette Cooper, Labour MP, Nicky Morgan, Conservative MP, Shailesh Vara, Conservative MP, Tom Brake, Lib Dem MP and the partys Brexit spokesman, Jo Swinson, MP and deputy Lib Dem leader.
In a speech in Hastings Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, said he was “quite happy” to talk with Mrs May, but she had to rule out a no-deal Brexit. The Labour leader urged May to “ditch the red lines” and “get serious about proposals for the future”.
He said: “With no-deal on the table, the prime minister will enter into phony talks just to run down the clock and try to blackmail MPs to vote through her botched deal on a second attempt by threatening the country with the chaos that no-deal would bring.” Corbyn said the “best outcome” was to call a general election to “break the deadlock”.
The BBCs political editor Laura Kuenssberg said it was not a straightforward judgement for the Labour Party, as many members do not want Brexit to happen - meaning Corbyn could be criticised for helping the process if he attends.
The SNPs Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said that the extension of Article 50 - the two year mechanism that means the UK leaves the EU on 29 March - the ruling out of a no-deal Brexit, and the option of a second EU referendum would have to form the basis of future discussions.
Plaid Cymrus Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts, said they were “committed to finding a real solution” but “that means taking a no deal Brexit off the table and a Peoples Vote on our European future”.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said he was encouraged by Mays “willingness to talk about these issues in detail”. The preferred choice of the party is another referendum.
Following her meeting yesterday, Green MP Caroline Lucas said the PM refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
“I repeatedly urged her again and again to take no deal off the table because I think it completely skews the talks because you know that cliff edge is there,” she said.
May was also resisting the option of extending Article 50, Ms Lucas said.
DUP leader Arlene Foster said the prime minister was in “listening mode” and there was optimism that a Brexit deal could still be reached. She said she made a “clear ask” in relation to the Irish backstop, urging May to address it “in a satisfactory way”.
When asked what the government was willing to compromise on, Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis refused to give specifics.
He told BBC Radio 4s Today programme that Mrs May would not consider a customs union and that he did not believe a new referendum was “the right way to go”.
Meetings, on their own, are not a Plan B. Conversations, are not by themselves, compromises.
To get any deal done where there are such clashing views all around, it requires give and take. It feels like a political lifetime since there has been a fundamental dispute in the cabinet, in the Tory party and across Parliament. Theresa May has stubbornly, although understandably, tried to plot a middle course.
But that has failed so spectacularly at this stage. Ultimately she may well be left with the same dilemma of which way to tack.
Its clear, wide open, in public, that the cabinet is at odds with each other. Just listen to David Gauke and Liam Fox on whether a customs union could be a compromise for example.