Foreign Policy Digital

Theresa May Stays but Only in Name

A thin victory in the no-confidence vote leaves no one really running the country.

Theresa May remains in office—but not necessarily in power. Though the British prime minister survived Wednesday’s vote of no confidence in Parliament, her thin 19-vote victory is hardly a sign that she has regained control of the House of Commons, or even of her own fractious Conservative Party. Meanwhile, her chief opponent, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, appears reluctant to seize control of the Brexit issue himself.

All of which suggests that, at the moment, the British government has lost control of its own flagship Brexit policy, and the United Kingdom is drifting rudderless toward an unknown future that may or may not include membership in the European Union.

On Tuesday night May’s government saw her withdrawal agreement with the EU defeated by 230 votes—the heaviest parliamentary defeat in British political history. Corbyn denounced May’s cabinet as “zombie government” that has “lost control … [and] is no longer able to govern,” and he called for the Commons to oust

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