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The Brexit deal defeat and confidence vote: Why Christians should care

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered the largest defeat in modern history last night, as Parliament rejected her Brexit deal by a vote of 202-432; she now faces a confidence vote that could turn her out of office. Rev. Richard Turnbull – who is both ordained in the Church of England and the director of the Centre for Enterprise, Markets, and Ethics in Oxford – explains the likely outcomes in a new essay for the Acton Institute’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website. Christians should be concerned about the UK becoming a less prosperous nation, tied inextricably to Brussels’ supranational bureaucracy and led by a prime minister hostile to the free market.

One likely outcome is that the UK becomes a less free, less prosperous, and less independent nation. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately offered a “no confidence” vote in her government, which could result in his becoming the next prime minister. Rev. Turnbull writes:

Theresa May faces a no confidence vote that could potentially turn her out of office and result in the election of a socialist. The official opposition Labour Party (the British socialist party) has tabled a motion of no confidence in the government. … Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act if a motion of no confidence in the government is passed, and not reversed by another vote within 14 days, Parliament is dissolved and a general election is held (although the precise date is a matter for the prime minister). As of this writing, the confidence vote has not been held, and there is almost no chance of that vote succeeding. The government has 318 out of 643 active Members of Parliament, just short of a majority. It is inconceivable that any Conservative MP would vote for this no confidence motion at this time. If the clock moves to March and there is a repeat no confidence motion, some extreme Conservative Remainers might defect, but not today. In addition the 10 MPs of the Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland’s largest party, which is socially conservative and pro-Brexit) will support the government., Labour’s leftist leader, in effect, throwing away any chance of forcing an election. Expect a government win which will strengthen May.

If she survives — which most observers believe she will — the UK may face an economic future significantly less independent and prosperous than it would have enjoyed had she seized the possibilities offered by Brexit to embrace the free market and repeal reams of EU red tape. “Soft Brexit” alternatives will result in a high degree of regulatory alignment. Rev. Turnbull writes:

A softer Brexit may hamper free trade. … In her statement immediately after the defeat, May indicated she would consult across Parliament to seek a way forward. … Only softer options are likely to emerge….

Read his full, in-depth analysis here.

(Photo credit: Marco Verch. CC BY 2.0.)

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Rev. Ben Johnson Rev. Ben Johnson is Senior Editor at the Acton Institute.

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