How Theresa May surviving the vote of confidence changes the way ahead

How Theresa May surviving the vote of confidence changes the way ahead

Can May pick a path through the Brexit minefield? How the PM surviving the Tory vote of confidence changes the way ahead

  • Theresa May has won 200 votes of confidence to 117 in yesterday’sTory ballot
  • She needed a simple majority of Tory MPs – 158 –  to vote for her to stay as leader
  • She will now get the opportunity to make good her promise to deliver Brexit  

Theresa May has another shot of getting her Brexit deal over the line after she survived an attempted coup yesteday.

The PM won the confidence vote by 200 to 117 votes in a contest which left her bruised but not beaten.  

The result, which was read out to applause in Committee Room 14 of the Houses of Parliament shortly after 9pm last night, means she cannot face a Tory leadership contest for another 12 months.

She will stay on as Tory leader and Prime Minister to finish the Brexit talks and try to get a deal through a deeply divided Parliament.

But while Mrs May has survived as leader, Parliament remains in deadlock over Brexit and she faces the same challenge to convince EU leaders to axed the hated Irish backstop.

Why did Theresa May face a confidence vote?

The contest was triggered because at least 48 Tory MPs have sent letters of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee – the body which represents Tory MPs.

Sir Graham is obliged to call a vote if 15 per cent of Tory MPs write to him calling for one – currently 48 MPs. 

While Theresa May has survived as Tory leader and PM, she faces the same titanic problems in getting her Brexit deal over the line in a deeply divided Parliament 


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What did Theresa May do to convince her MPs to back her?

The PM pleaded with her MPs to back her at an emotionally-charged meeting of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs.

She promised them that she would not stay on to lead the party into the 2022 General Election – sparking accusations that she has become a ‘lame duck’ PM. 

And she also said she would head back out to Brussels and persuade EU leaders to make ‘legally binding’ changes to the Irish backstop to ensure it is temporary.

While as she desperately tried to shore up her support, she promised to build bridges with the DUP – the Northern Irish party which has threatened to pull the plug on their deal to prop the Tories up in No10 in fury at the Brexit talks.  

How did yesterday’s vote take place?  

The confidence vote was held between 6pm and 8pm. Tory MPs voted by casting their secret ballots in a box which was placed in Committee Room 14 in Parliament, and could only vote for those two hours. 

What was the threshold for victory?

There were 315 Tory MPs eligible to vote, and the PM needed a simple majority to stay on as leader – meaning 158 was the magic number. 

Sir Graham Brady (pictured in Westminster yesterday ) chairman of the 1922 Committee which represents Tory MPs, this morning announced that a confidence vote would be held which she won 200 votes to 117

What happens now she has won? 

Theresa May cannot face a fresh challenge from within the Tory party for another 12 months – meaning that she can stay on and finish Brexit. 

But leading Tory rebels Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker have stuck to their guns and repeated their demand for her to go – saying she has been left mortally wounded by the sheer scale of the revolt against her.

What would have happened if Theresa May had lost? 

If Theresa May lost she would have had to resign as Conservative party leader and would have been barred from standing for the leadership contest.

She would have had to stay on as Prime Minister while Tory MPs decided who her successor would be. 

Or she could have quit immediately and handed over to a caretaker leader – with her de facto deputy David Lidington tipped to be the man to fulfill this role. 

What is next in the Brexit talks?

Theresa May has imeidately headed back out to brussels for an EU sumt where she pleading with leaders to make changes to the Brexit deal.

She is pressing them to make key changes that would see the controversial Irish backstop amended to make it clear that it is only temporary.

The change is a key demand of both Remainer and Brexiteer MPs, while the DUP have said they will pull the plug on their support for the Tories unless the backstop is scrapped.

Does the failed coup kill off no deal?

Tory Brexiteers failed in their bid to oust Theresa May – meaning they did not trigger a leadership contest and manage to install one of their own to the top job.

They had hoped that a Tory MP who was a ‘true believer’ in Brexit – such as Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab – would take a second referendum off the table altogether and instead steer through a ‘managed no deal’.

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