Politics update: May survives no confidence vote – reactions from the EU and UK MPs

Politics update 13.12.2018 Theresa May Wins No Confidence Vote

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May wins no confidence vote by 87 votes

Theresa May Wins No Confidence Vote


Theresa May has survived a vote of no-confidence in her leadership of the Conservative party, after a ballot of Tory MPs resulted in 200 votes in favour of the PM, with 117 against.

In a day of chaos after the no-confidence motion was launched early Wednesday morning, the prime minister faced down MPs opposing her Brexit deal, and mixed reports of how many votes would be cast against her in the ballot, fuelled by MPs publicly attacking her leadership.

Earlier in the evening, May promised to stand down as Tory leader before a general election in 2022, moments before Conservative MPs went into the vote for her leadership of the party.

Earlier in the day, it seemed as though May had enough public support, as many MPs publicly supported her in TV and radio interviews. Her decision to tell MPs she would stand down before 2022 is also likely to have bolstered support.

The challenge of the ‘meaningful vote’ on May’s Brexit deal still remains, and now that the confidence vote has been won, the prime minister is likely to have a newfound sense of authority, albeit still weakened overall by the opposition to her Brexit deal.

MPs reaction to May’s survival



Speaking after the result, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said May had “lost her majority in parliament, her government is in chaos, and she is unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country and puts jobs and the economy first”.

The Jacob Rees Mogg-led European Research Group (ERG) was also predictably pessimistic about the vote’s results. Asked if he thought the vote’s result meant May should stand down, ERG deputy-leader Mark Francois said: “We all need to go and get a decent night’s sleep and look at it afresh in the morning. But if you’re a PM and a third of your MPs vote against you, that is very bad news.”

Mogg himself said on Wednesday evening: “It’s a terrible result for the prime minister, it really is.”

Justice secretary David Gauke was optimistic, despite the fairly large 117 votes against May. Speaking on Wednesday, he said: “It’s a comfortable victory. We’ve had an election and a majority backing the prime minister. This has been hanging over her for months and months. There has been an attempt, and it’s failed.”

May flies to Brussels to seek assurances on backstop

After surviving the no-confidence motion from her party, Theresa May will now fly to Brussels to attempt to gain a ‘legally binding’ commitment from EU leaders that the Irish backstop will not come into force.

On Wednesday, the Guardian reported that a leaked document from the EU suggested they were planning to release a short statement insisting that “the backstop does not represent a desirable outcome” for the EU, though they will also insist that the deal “is not open for renegotiation”.

Whether assurances on the backstop are gained or not, Theresa May’s deal still eventually has to make it through a vote in parliament. If it is voted down, the prime minister is likely to seek to delay the UK’s exit by extending Article 50.

Speaking on Wednesday, one EU diplomat told reporters that delaying the UK’s exit from the bloc was “not probable and not realistic”.

What the papers say

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