How will the no-confidence vote in British PM Theresa May's government work?

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May listens as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks in the House of Commons, on Jan 15, 2019.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May listens as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks in the House of Commons, on Jan 15, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - British lawmakers will on Wednesday (Jan 16) 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:

HOW DOES THE PROCESS 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 (9pm Singapore time). Mrs 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. Mrs May's government needs 318 votes to win, 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.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE GOVERNMENT WINS?

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.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE GOVERNMENT LOSES?

Mrs May does not have to resign. A 14-day period is triggered in which any party, including Mrs 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.

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF Mrs MAY LOSING?

Mrs May does not have an outright majority in Parliament but the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the small Northern Irish party that props up her government, has said it will support the government. So, Mrs May would lose only if enough of her own Conservative members vote against the government.

WHAT ARE LAWMAKERS SAYING ABOUT THE VOTE?

Mr 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 favours 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."