Confidence vote victory would still leave Theresa May with less authority

Ann Santiago
December 13, 2018

Conservative Party MPs have triggered a vote of no confidence in the prime minister's leadership of the party following her decision to delay the vote on her Brexit deal.

MPs and ministers have rallied round May since the confidence vote was announced on Wednesday morning, sending the pound rising amid expectations she would win.

Britain's ruling Conservatives have been divided for years over the European Union question, with younger MPs being largely in favour of leaving it, while older ones tended to be more supportive of it.

The long-running schism over Europe in her party contributed to the fall of all three previous Conservative premiers - David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

Tusk said the other 27 European Union leaders would discuss Brexit at a special meeting on Thursday, at the start of a pre-planned summit in Brussels which May will attend.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a media statement in Downing Street, London, confirming there will be a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party, Wednesday Dec. 12, 2018. Two members who were under party suspension for alleged misconduct prior to Wednesday were permitted to vote in the ballot. The victor of the vote becomes Conservative leader and prime minister, without the need for a national election. Instead, she spent the day shuttling through European capitals, seeking changes to the deal to try to win over skeptical legislators before Britain leaves the EU on March 29.

Backbencher Anna Soubry said it was time for the prime minister to face down hardline Brexiters on the right of her party.

Brady told the BBC he had spoken to the prime minister and noted she was "keen that matters be resolved as quickly as is reasonably possible". "And I think what this vote today will do is flush out the extremists who are trying to advance a particular agenda which would really not be in the interests of the British people or the British economy".

"At one of the most pivotal moments for the United Kingdom economy in decades, it is unacceptable that Westminster politicians have chosen to focus on themselves, rather than on the needs of the country", he said after the Conservative Party said there would a vote on May's leadership.

She warned that a change of leadership at such a sensitive time in the Brexit process "would put our country's future at risk" and explained that any new leader would not have time to push through the required Brexit legislation by the end of March.

Graham Brady says the threshold of 48 letters from lawmakers needed to trigger a leadership vote has been reached.

Candidates for the leadership must be nominated by two Conservative MPs.

"What I would like to happen today is for Conservative Members of Parliament to realise that we simply can not go staggering forward any longer like this and I'm afraid to put their letters of no confidence in", Mr Baker told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The Conservative lawmakers will cast their votes in the confidence ballot from 1800 GMT in Committee Room 14 at the House of Commons.

Prospective leadership contenders are former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, home secretary Sajid Javid, and global development secretary Penny Mordaunt.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Sajid Javid are also considered top contenders.

May will have to spend the day fighting to convince colleagues she is still the best person to lead the country as it exits the European Union.

Still, a victory by the narrowest of margins is unlikely to strengthen her authority.

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