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May survives yet again

May survives yet again

Very few British Prime ministers have landed themselves in the sort of predicament Theresa May has. At one point of time, when the Tories had a good majority under Prime Minister David Cameron, she was an efficient Home Secretary. But with the "exiteers" having narrowly won the Brexit referendum, she, a "stayer" emerged the new leader after "stayer" Cameron resigned. Life has just not been the same for May since. When she had taken over the reins from her very dapper predecessor, little had May realised the going would get tougher by the day because of Brexit. Indeed, her government narrowly survived the latest Brexit challenge on Tuesday after winning a crucial parliamentary vote. The government avoided defeat when MPs voted against by 307 votes to 301 against a proposal by Remain-supporting members of her own Conservative party that would have significantly undermined her Brexit strategy. The pro-EU faction was furious that earlier in the week, her government had made a number of concessions to the Brexit-supporting faction. The dispute has exposed the deep divisions in May's party and could yet lead to significant challenges to her authority. Earlier this month, two of May's top Cabinet ministers, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, quit over what they see as a watering-down of the UK's blueprint for leaving the European Union. In two votes in the UK Parliament this week, the latest on Tuesday night, May only just avoided defeat at the hands of pro-EU members of her party. The "Brexiteers" were angry that May's Chequers agreement, a plan for a Brexit strategy hatched at May's official country residence 10 days ago, envisaged a close future relationship with the EU.

The original Chequers agreement caused the resignations of Davis and Johnson. The latter claimed the Chequers deal would leave the UK in the status of a "colony" to Europe and claimed the Brexit "dream was dying." He led the main Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, quit after Chequers, triggering the government's biggest crisis since she lost her Parliamentary majority after calling a snap election last year. "It is not too late to save the Brexit," Johnson told Parliament in his resignation speech. "We have time in these negotiations. We have changed tack once and we can change again." Several junior ministers and parliamentary secretaries also resigned over the deal. Meanwhile, the government has abandoned the vote on whether MPs should start their summer recess several days early, beginning this week instead of next Tuesday, following criticism from lawmakers. With her own party so divided and criticism growing by the day, May cannot afford any recess. But, precisely how she puts up a new plan to please all remains the million pound question.

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