January 27, 2023

Theresa May survives no confidence vote – but Brexit deal hangs in the balance

BRITISH prime minister and Conservative Party leader Theresa May has tonight survived a vote of confidence in her leadership – but her Brexit deal still hangs in the balance.

Following another day of drama over the water, Ms May received the backing of 200 of the 317 Tory MPs, but a substantial minority (117) voted against her.

The vote was called after more than 48 of her MPs wrote to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee calling for a leadership challenge over her Brexit agreement.

The challenge followed the prime minister’s decision to postpone a vote in parliament on her deal rather than face certain defeat amid widespread Conservative opposition to the terms of the backstop, a provision to avoid a hard Border in Ireland that is enshrined in the deal.

Mrs May addressed members of the Conservative 1922 Committee at 5pm before the ballot opened. A banging of desks could be heard from outside committee room 14 in the Palace of Westminster as she addressed the meeting.

Mrs May told those present she will step down before the next general election, due in 2022, as she recognised that the party did not want her to lead them into the vote. However, she said there would not be a snap election.

She also said she wanted to come back by January 21 with something on the backstop that the DUP would accept.

The DUP, which supports Mrs May’s minority government, is currently opposed to the deal.

In a statement outside Number 10 on Wednesday morning, Mrs May said: “I will contest that vote with everything I’ve got.”

A planned trip to Dublin to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was cancelled, with Mrs May instead remaining in London “to make the case for my leadership with my parliamentary colleagues”.

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