The Speaker
Monday, 20 May 2024 – 23:30

Theresa May survives late night no confidence vote

Theresa May has survived a no-confidence motion in her leadership of the Conservative party.

Conservative party Chairman Sir Graham Brady announced at 9 PM this evening that Theresa May received the confidence of 200 of her parliamentary colleagues, with 117 voting against.

This comes after it was announced this morning that the chairman had received 48 letters against her leadership, triggering the vote in her election.

The result – which means that another no-confidence motion cannot be issued for one year – has received mixed reactions amongst her colleagues, with some suggesting a renewed mandate, with others claiming that she is severely weakened and in an untenable position.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of the Prime Minister’s fiercest critics, suggested that she ought to go to the Queen and resign, citing her inability to command a majority in the commons.

This shows that despite her surviving the vote, her leadership remains in question, with many in her own party still exploring every possible option to replace her and force through a more extreme version of Brexit.

In the hours before the ballot, Theresa May spoke to her parliamentary colleagues and announced that she would not stand for the party at the next scheduled election, which is set for 2022.

However, most expect her to leave Downing Street in the coming months, despite the victory in this evenings ballot.

Rt Hon. Stephen Crabb – a Theresa May backer – suggested that she will have to stand aside once the withdrawal agreement passes through parliament and the UK leaves the European Union.

Prime Minister May is set to continue meetings with European leaders over the coming days to seek legal reassurances over the backstop agreement, which is a point of contention for many of those who decided to vote against her in today’s ballot.

However, this may be irrelevant if the Labour party put a motion of no confidence in the government over the coming days.

Many labour MP’s have suggested that this may occur, which would force a parliamentary vote across all of the commons; bringing down the government should 50% vote against the government, however, labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appears reluctant.

Although it is unlikely that the Labour party are in a strong enough position to bring down the government, Theresa May’s power will likely dissipate in the coming months after she announced her intention not to lead the conservatives into the 2022 election.

In a move that most commentators have characterised as a desperate action to scrape together enough votes to win confidence, she has likely thrown herself into a lame duck period that will shorten her time in office.

By announcing her intention to step aside before the next election, she has likely entered a period akin to Tony Blair in 2006-07, whereby he could not pass his agenda due to the impending leadership change.

This will perhaps make it more difficult for her to pass the final withdrawal agreement and makes it almost certain that 10 Downing Street will have a new occupant come the summer.

This is echoed by Westminster’s third party, the Scottish National Party, whose leader, Nicola Sturgeon, called Theresa May a ‘lame duck Prime Minister’ and are looking to force a no-confidence vote.

Although as the third party the SNP cannot call a no-confidence vote, they are exerting pressure on Labour and trying to force a vote, although with May also expected to survive a vote in the commons Jeremy Corbyn seems reluctant to comply.

Mrs May survived tonight’s vote, making it likely that she will be able to finish the job she started – taking us out of Europe – but it is increasingly clear that she won’t last in office much beyond that.

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