Theresa May spoke to the media in Downing Street on Wednesday evening after a turbulent day for the PM and Brexit which saw Dominic Raab and Esther McVey quit her cabinet in protest at the draft Brexit deal, five others quit from the government and party roles, the submission of letters of no-confidence and the completion of a three-hour session of questions in the Commons.
Theresa May started her speech over 20 minutes late, by saying “Serving in high office is a heavy responsibility”, leading some journalists to believe that Mrs May was about to resign.
However, the truth was far from it, with Mrs May remaining defiant and saying “I believe the course I have set out is the right one for the country.” Mr May said that her approach was to put the national interest first, and said “Am I going to see this through? Yes.”
Theresa May said that she understands some people are unhappy with the Brexit compromises, but repeated multiple times that she would not change her Brexit policy. When questioned on who may replace ministers including Dominic Raab and Esther McVey that resigned today, the Prime Minister did not give direct answers, saying she had had a busy day.
It is understood Michael Gove has been offered the job of Brexit Secretary, but would only take it if he could renegotiate with Brussels.
The Prime Minister faced multiple questions about the possibility of a vote of confidence in her leadership, and she dodged these questions saying her focus was to get on with the job of delivering Brexit in the national interest.
Theresa May answered the last question of the press conference by comparing herself to cricketer Geoffery Boycott – “Geoffrey Boycott stuck to it and he got the runs in the end”.
The speech confirmed that Mrs May was going to stick with her Brexit policy and that nothing has changed.
So, what happens now?
The future of Brexit and Theresa May’s time as PM remains uncertain. The draft Brexit agreement is set to be debated by the EU later this month, and if Theresa May makes it, the bill will be presented to MPs in the Commons, who will have to vote for or against the agreement. However, a number of MPs including Jacob Rees Mogg have openly submitted letters of no confidence in Mrs May’s leadership, meaning a leadership election could be around the corner. It seems unlikely that if it gets to the point where the bill enters Parliament, it will be passed as opposition parties have already announced they will oppose it. A vote against the draft agreement could result in further negotiations, a second referendum, a no deal scenario or a general election.
After Theresa May’s speech to the media, how do you feel about her leadership as PM? Join in below and comment your questions about Brexit.
— The Speaker (@speakerpolitics) 15 November 2018