17th January, 2019
A “historic humiliation”, “worst defeat ever” and “Brextinct” are some of the ways the newspapers describe Theresa May’s “crushing” Commons defeat.
The Times says the prime minister can only survive by taking a new approach to Brexit and winning the support of the opposition.
“The country faces a crisis and it is not clear whether Mrs May is part of the problem or part of the solution. She was dealt a near-impossible hand but she has played it extraordinarily badly,” the paper adds.
“If her legacy is to be anything other than the hapless prime minister who led the country to chaos and paved the way for a Corbyn government, she must be prepared to make compromises to secure the passage of some form of her deal.”
The Daily Mirror, which on Tuesday called for the PM to change course, says it is time for a general election to be called.
“Wasting yet more time and effort trying to resuscitate the corpse, with the clock ticking louder as March 29 nears, would be injudicious recklessness from a discredited PM,” the paper adds.
“But swapping one lame duck with another Tory is insufficient. Britain deserves real change. Only Labour can deliver decisive reform, giving people hope where there is none. And that means a general election. Now.”
On its front page, Metro called it the “worst defeat ever”, after Mrs May’s deal was rejected by a margin of 230 votes.
The Daily Telegraph, which on Tuesday called for MPs to reject the deal, says both Mrs May and Brussels misjudged Parliament.
“Anyone with a clearer understanding would have seen that the Commons could not back a deal that would threaten to undermine Britain’s independence,” the paper says.
“The Government must regain the confidence of the House, rethink the agreement and go to the Europeans with a united front. Whether or not Mrs May leads that effort is a decision upon which she will now have to think very hard.”
The Daily Mail, which on Tuesday called for MPs to back the deal, says the country now needs “cool heads and pragmatism” – with Mrs May in charge.
“If MPs wanted to sow the seeds of chaos, they could hardly have done a better job,” the paper says.
The Guardian says Mrs May’s deal is over and asks what comes next for a country “stockpiling food and medicines as if preparing for war”.
“The country now faces a situation without precedent in its constitutional history: how to reconcile the sovereignty of the people with the sovereignty of parliament,” the paper says.
“The prime minister has been humbled into admitting she needs to win her opponents over.”
The Sun says it is time to “batten down the hatches” and “set course for a No Deal”.
“The Sun reluctantly believes we must head for a clean break, finalise preparations as best we can and batten down the hatches,” the paper says.
The Daily Express, which called for MPs to back the PM’s deal, says Brussels must heed this vote and compromise.
“The integrity of democracy is at stake now. There is no going back,” the paper says.
“Whatever it takes Britain must leave on March 29. It is up to the EU now over whether that is on constructive and friendly terms, or not.”