Thursday, December 13, 2018
The National – Theresa May wins confidence vote in her leadership – as it happened
- Vote was triggered after 48 letters were sent to Graham Brady, 1922 Committee chairman
- Conservative MPs will vote between 18:00 and 20:00 GMT
- Mrs May said she 'will contest that vote with everything I've got' on Wednesday
- If she wins, she is expected to stand down before the next general election
- If she loses, she will be forced to resign and an internal party leadership election will be held
Speaking on the steps of 10 Downing Street for the second time in the day, Mrs May confirmed that she would continue as leader and said "I'm pleased to have received the backing of colleagues." She acknowledged the large minority who voted against her, and said that she would seek assurances from EU leaders about the backstop.
"Following this ballot, we now have to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country," Mrs May said.
01:20 John McDonnell calls result 'shocking' for Mrs May
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the vote as a 'shocking' result for Mrs May
01:15 Jacob Rees-Mogg says Theresa May should tender her resignation to the Queen
Although she received a clear majority of 87 votes, there was immediate speculation that beyond the payroll vote of around 130 MPs who are paid by the government, there is a majority of backbench Tory MPs against Mrs May. Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that Mrs May should go to the Queen and tender her resignation.
01:00 Theresa May wins confidence vote by 200 to 117
Theresa May survived the vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative party by 200 to 117, a majority of 83.
00:30 Every Conservative MP voted in ballot
A 100% turnout is usually a sign of electoral shenanigans, but with all 317 MPs turning out to vote during the two-hour window available to them, the only thing it can tell us will be that if the tallies for confidence and no confidence don't add up, then some MPs will have implicitly shown their disapproval of Mrs May by abstaining or spoiling their ballot. Talking of which...
A 100% turnout is usually a sign of electoral shenanigans, but with all 317 MPs turning out to vote during the two-hour window available to them, the only thing it can tell us will be that if the tallies for confidence and no confidence don't add up, then some MPs will have implicitly shown their disapproval of Mrs May by abstaining or spoiling their ballot. Talking of which..
00:15 Senior Brexiteer says only 86 MPs voted against May
The Daily Telegraph's Christopher Hope says that a senior Brexiteer told him only 86 people voted against Theresa May. This would be a large victory for the prime minister.
00:00 Voting has now closed
The counting will now begin, with just 317 votes to be counted by three tellers it is possible it could take less than 30 minutes to get a result
23:50 Almost two-thirds of Tory activists want May to quit
According to a snap survey carried out by the ConservativeHome website, 63% of the 1,378 Tory activists polled said that MPs should vote that they did not have confidence in prime minister Theresa May.
Just 36% backed her, with 1% recommending MPs abstain. The website is the house journal of the party so is bad news for Mrs May regardless of the result of tonight's vote.
23:30 Key figures cast their votes
Both Mrs May and her former foreign secretary Boris Johnson have voted in Committee Room 14, thankfully at different times. Sky News reports that some MPs, notably ministers, came out of the room with displays of apparent confidence, while others believed to oppose her kept their voting intentions secret.
23:15 Tory expert: May will have to call second vote
Tory commentator Phillip Blond says that he thinks when Mrs May wins she is going to have to call a second referendum as dozens of of her own MPs will come out in favour of a 'People's Vote'.
23:10 Loyalist MP tweets her ballot paper
Margot James, minister of state for digital and the creative industries, publicly shared her secret ballot paper:
23:00 Mrs May’s challengers circle in the corridors of Parliament
Former Brexit minister Dominic Raab appeared to wander laps in the lobby of Portcullis House, writes Gareth Browne, the building linked to Parliament by and underground passage which houses MPs offices.
One Conservative staffer told The National that Downing Street is preparing for a closer race then some had anticipated. An indication of this was its decision to restore the whip to MP Andrew Griffiths, who was suspended from the party in July amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
He subsequently confirmed he would vote for Mrs May, but there are still those who tout him as a possible challenger for the party’s Pro-Brexit European Research Group wing to Mrs May’s premiership. He sauntered momentarily towards Nick Boles MP, a supporter of the prime minister, who has been visceral in his criticism for the hardline Brexiters of Mr Raab’s wing of the party.
Labour MPs move about, noticeably uninvolved on the day another conservative leader fights for their political survival over Europe. This has become purely an internal Conservative party dispute, with the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn itself attracting criticism from within for its lack of desire to table its own vote of no confidence in the government, potentially forcing an election.
22:45 Reuters: May has public support of at least 198 MPs
Theresa May has secured indications of support from nearly 200 of her lawmakers, according to Reuters, based on statements made to the media and on social media.
22:30 Curtice: May must keep rebellion to 100 MPs against her
Polling expert John Curtice is a cult figure amongst British political nerds, and is wheeled out to share his considerable knowledge on elections and days such as this. Reuters reports that he said "the size of the vote [for Mrs May] does matter. If much more than 100 MPs vote against her then I think she is going to be struggling to remain for very long and would find it difficult to get that deal through the House of Commons."
ERG chair Jacobs Rees Mogg agrees, saying that the prime minister needs win the backing of more half of MPs who are not in paid government roles, which would mean a total well in excess of 250 MPs. He also announced that he will not stand in a Conservative leadership election.
22:15 May won't be pressed on when she will go
The BBC's Laura Kuennsberg says that the prime minister was vague when pressed at the 1922 Committee on the exact date that she would leave (see 21:35).
22:00 Ballot opens
The prime minister and her fellow Conservative Party MPs have left the meeting. MPs have until 8pm GMT (12am GST) to cast their votes. The BBC's Laura Kuennsberg says that the prime minister was vague when pressed on the exact date that she would leave.
21:35 May: I will step down after delivering 'orderly Brexit'/////p>
The prime minister has told her colleagues at the 1922 meeting that she will step aside once she has delivered an "orderly Brexit" and will not fight another election, according to MPs present.
21:20 Banging on desks as Mrs May addresses the 1922
The prime minister is currently addressing her Conservative colleagues at the 1922 committee. She arrived to the sound of cheers and desk banging. Former Brexit secretary David Davis was the first to leave, commenting to journalists outside "good speech".
21:00 UAE residents cash in on sinking pound
Exchange houses in the UAE have experienced a surge in business as Brexit-inspired turmoil continues to wreak havoc on the British pound, writes John Dennehy.
Some houses on Wednesday said they had experienced as much as a 20 per cent increase in volumes of sterling currency requests or wire transfers over the past two days.
“Some customers are planning to travel for Christmas and are now taking advantage of the good rate,” said Ali Al Najjar, assistant general manager and head of operation at Al Ansari.
“The rate is dropping, it is now attractive and they will go and transfer.”
20:25 Risk on? What UK uncertainty means for investors
The latest Business Extra Podcast is out. Hosts Mustafa Alrawi and Chris Nelson discuss how global political uncertainty affects markets and how investors should react.
20:00 Majority of party MPs expected to back Mrs May
The British prime minister now has the declared support of 168 Conservative MPs, more than she needs to secure a majority in the party vote.
However the vote will be conducted as a secret ballot and MPs who voiced their support for her earlier today could yet change their minds.
A further 101 are undeclared and 48 are known opponents.
She needs 159 votes to win and secure her leadership.
19:45 Conservatives Party's European nightmare will only deepen
In the opinion pages of The National, Steve Richards notes today's no confidence vote is the latest twist in the Conservative Party's obsession and division over Europe. And even if Theresa May does walk away tonight still leader - she still has to win her delayed Brexit vote in the House of Commons.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Gornall writes that throwing Theresa May out of the cockpit will set the UK on course for a devastating crash landing
As Britain faces its most significant post-war moment, now is not the time for Conservative MPs to begin an internal power struggle, he says.
18:45 Leave voters would delay Brexit for the right leader
Mopeds and lorries drive past pro-EU protesters, beeping their horns to show support, eliciting a muted “woo”. However, one man takes issue with the chants of “stop Brexit, save Britain”, shouting at protesters from the other side of the street.
As environment secretary and Referendum architect Michael Gove took to one of the raised media platforms constructed outside parliament, one protestor yells “your lies caused this Gove”. The Minister, who has confirmed his full backing for Mrs May in tonight’s vote, turned, looking perplexed.
Below the platforms, Londoners Ken and Jean Carter are spiritedly debating the finer points of Brexit with the remain campaigners. Pulled into a conversation on their way home from a hospital appointment, Mr Carter says the pair voted not to join the EU in 1975 and to leave in 2016.
Mrs Carter says Mrs May is “intransigent and dogmatic” and will lose the vote today. She likes Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg or David Davies, who she says Mrs May “completely undermined” in his role as Brexit secretary, for a replacement.
As to leader selection delaying the Brexit process, Mrs Carter is pragmatic.
“If its a short delay I’d be quite prepared for that to get the right decision,” she says.
18:40 May to tell MPs she will not stand at next election
Theresa May is expected to address Conservative MPs at 21:00 (UAE time), where she is rumoured to tell them she will step down before the next general election, according to the BBC's political editor.
Opinion: The British pound needs a leader that inspires greater confidence
After two days of sharp losses during the early part of the week, the pound actually rallied slightly when it became clear that a leadership challenge to prime minister Theresa May was underway in the United Kingdom, Tim Fox chief economist and head of research at Emirates NBC writes.
This can probably be put down to the forex market’s wish for greater certainty about the direction of the UK government, over Brexit itself, but also if only to have a prime minister who inspires greater confidence.
17:40 How Europe leads to the end of Conservative prime ministers
Europe has ultimately cost the job every British Conservative prime minister since Margaret Thatcher, Damien McElroy reports.
If Theresa May wins the confidence vote later Wednesday she will have lived to fight another day but the great dividing line in the most successful political party in the Western world will not be healed.
Former prime ministers David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher all lost their jobs over the European rift in the Conservative Party.
17:35 On a chilly day in Westminister, Brexit campaigners are out en masse
In a blue beret that is studded with golden stars of the EU, Chris Hatcher is a regular sight on the lawns opposite the British Parliament, The National's Taylor Heyman reports.
Frequently he brandishes a pole with three flags attached; one for his native Wales, one for the Eu and the Union Jack as he ambushes the space behind TV cameras to promote his cause.
On the impending confidence vote, Mr Hatcher says it’s a diversion caused by May’s “cowardice” of not holding the Brexit deal vote on Tuesday.
“I can’t really see anybody in the Conservative party getting behind anyone else at the moment. I’d love someone who’s moderate there, someone like Jo Johnson perhaps. I think they’ll probably keep Theresa to be honest.”
As the day gets later, tourists begin to arrive, posing equally in front of the iconic building and the sea of people’s vote signs and EU flags. Of particular selfie interest is a sculpture showing a monstrous combination of the main Brexit players.
Mr Schwartz says it’s “exciting” to be in London at such a momentous time.
“We do follow it actually, and the English seem to sort themselves out quite well in the end, although the end is sometimes a long time coming."
17:10 Downing Street official hints May will step down before the next election
Theresa May will not linger in office, even if she survives today's vote, a Downing Street official told reporters, in what appeared to be a concession to her opponents.
17:00 May looks set to survive confidence vote
Chancellor Philip Hammond told Sky News he is confident Mrs May will survive the vote. He also said it will be an opportunity to "flush out the extremists".
His comments show the divisions between pro-Europeans and Brexiteers in the Conservative Party.
Enough Conservative MPs have publicly declared their support for Mrs May for her to survive tonight's vote, the BBC reports.
However, it is a secret ballot and we still have five hours until the vote.
Watch: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's spirited reply to Theresa May
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came flying out of the blocks to rebuke embattled Prime Minister Theresa May at Prime Minister's Questions.
"Totally and absolutely unacceptable to this house in any way," Mr Corbyn responded to Mrs May's reply, surrounded by cheers from Labour MPs.
16:40 May: We will not use food shortages to get a better deal
Mrs May says she will not use the threat of food shortages in Ireland to get better Brexit terms in response to a question from a Labour MP.
This follows a suggestion made by former minister Priti Patel last week.
16:35 Is there anything more unhelpful than a general election?
Senior Conservative MP Ken Clarke asks Mrs May if there is anything more unhelpful to the country at a time of crisis than for the Conservative party to have a leadership contest.
Mr Clarke is a pro-European MP and a supporter of the prime minister.
16:25 Conservative chief whip and MPs leave mid-way through Prime Minister's Questions
Julian Smith, the chief whip in the Conservative party left the House of Commons followed by a number of Tory MPs, prompting a series of murmurs from other members of the house.
16:20 May comes out fighting
A confident and assured performance by Theresa May at prime minister’s questions so far that has got Tory MPs howling for more as she ridiculed Jeremy Corbyn and warned the biggest threat to the country is a government led by him.
Faced by the Labour party’s opposition to her Brexit deal and its warning against a no-deal exit in March, she turned the tables.
The best way to get a no-deal, she said is to back the deal she has brought back.
16:05 May takes questions in Parliament
Mrs May is greeted by a raucous House of Commons at the star of Prime Minister’s Questions. Her first question comes from Labour’s Kerry McCathy who comments: “Just a normal day in the office then Prime Minister.”
In response to Ms McCarthy’s question the prime minister says a general election “would not be in the national interest.” She repeated she would “respect the result of the referendum” and not have a people’s vote.
15:45 Third party leader urges opposition no confidence motion
The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Vince Cable, accused the Conservatives of putting their own internal disagreements before the country. He also urged Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, as leader of the opposition, to table a no confidence motion in the government.
"I suspect in the end she's going to win. If she does, we are back where we were yesterday, with an unpalatable, unacceptable Brexit deal,” he told the BBC.
15:30 Brexit 'not a big deal' for rest of Europe, says former Bank of England governor
Brexit is “not a big deal for the rest of Europe,” the former governor of the Bank of England told an audience in Dubai on Wednesday.
Mervyn King also described Brexit as another example of “the political classes being unable to cope with the concerns of ordinary people”.
Mr King said Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was not high on the list of priorities for countries across Europe as they have bigger problems to tackle.
15:25 Conservatives refuse to speak to each other
If you want a taste of how high tensions are running, have a watch of arch-Brexiter Andrew Bridgen refusing to appear on live TV with Conservative party vice-chairman James Cleverly.
Remember these two are in the same party…
15:20 May loops Parliament
In an unfortunate metaphor for her day, Parliament was closed to the British Prime Minister as she arrives from Prime Minister's Questions this afternoon.
Theresa May's car had to do a loop around Parliament before being allowed to enter the British legislature.
Here's hoping they can open her door.
15:15 Eight days to decide a leader
Sir Graham Brady has said that he plans to have the Parliamentary stage of a new leadership election over before the Christmas recess – December 20.
In the event Mrs May loses tonight’s vote, that stage consists of whittling down the field to two candidates, who then face a head to head vote among the wider Conservative Party membership.
That would leave just eight days for the party's various factions to decide on whom they will throw their weight behind...
15:10 Mrs May prepares for intense Prime Minister's Questions
Theresa May has left Downing Street for Parliament where she will face what will likely be a raucous Prime Minister's Questions.
Labour's leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been under pressure to table a vote on no confidence in Parliament, which would trigger a general election if passed, will be the first to question the Prime Minister.
15:05 The view from the ground
The National's Taylor Heyman is in Parliament Square, soaking up the atmosphere and speaking to the British public.
Commuters hurried past Britain’s scaffold-covered Parliament building, occasionally stopping their determined strides to gaze at the sparse anti-Brexit protesters waving EU flags in protest against the country’s planned exit.
Most eye-catching of all is the bright yellow bus with the slogan ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ emblazoned on the side.
Ensconced behind the bus is a man with an entirely different agenda.
Tahir Mirza, 56, is on a 24-hour hunger strike against the UK’s growing homelessness issue. He says the EU referendum and resulting uncertainty have detracted from issues at home.
“The Tories have been very successful to divert our attention only to Brexit, not the real issues,” he tells The National.
“The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.”
15:02 Who could replace Theresa May?
Boris Johnson, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab and Jeremy Hunt have all been tipped for the top job in British politics, The National's Claire Corkery lays out the top candidates for the job.
15:00 Lebanese business conference kicks-off despite Westminster instability
A number of ministers are today scheduled to appear at a conference in London to attract British investment to Lebanon, which has been unable to form a government since elections in May.
Among those slated to appear are Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who heads the conference bill, knows a thing or two about fending off political challenges...
14:40 What exactly is going on in Westminster?
Damien McElroy, our London Bureau Chief, reports from the UK Parliament on what this all means.
14:30 Former Prime Minister Cameron supports May
Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who resigned in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum in 2016, has voiced his support for Theresa May.
In full: Theresa May's statement outside 10 Downing Street
Sir Graham Brady has confirmed that he has received 48 letters from Conservative MPs so there will now be a vote of confidence in my leadership of the Conservative party.
I will contest that vote with everything I’ve got. I have been a member of the Conservative party for over 40 years. I have served it as an activist, councillor, MP, shadow minister, home secretary and now as prime minister.
I stood to be leader because I believe in the Conservative vision for a better future. A thriving economy, with nowhere and nobody left behind. A stronger society, where everyone can make the most of their talents. Always serving the national interest.
And at this crucial moment in our history, that means securing a Brexit deal that delivers on the result of the EU referendum.
Taking back control of our borders, laws and money - but protecting jobs, our security and our precious union as we do so.
Through good times and bad over the last two years, my passionate belief that such a deal is attainable, that a bright future lies ahead for our country, has not wavered.
And it is now within our grasp.
I spent yesterday meeting Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Rutte, President Tusk and President Juncker to address the concerns that MPs have with the backstop – and we are making progress.
I was due to travel to Dublin this afternoon to continue that work – but will now remain here in London to make the case for my leadership with my parliamentary colleagues.
A change of leadership in the Conservative party now will put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it.
A new leader wouldn’t be in place by the 21st January legal deadline, so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in parliament.
The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by 29 March – so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding article 50, delaying – or even stopping – Brexit when people want us to get on with it.
And a leadership election would not change the fundamentals of the negotiation or the parliamentary arithmetic.
Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division, just as we should be standing together to serve our country. None of that would be in the national interest.
The only people whose interests would be served are Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.
The British people want us to get on with it. And they want us to focus on the other vital issues that matter to them too. Building a stronger economy, delivering first-class public services and the homes that families need.
These are the public’s priorities - and they must be the Conservative party’s priorities too. We must – and we shall – deliver on the referendum vote and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.
But the Conservatives must not be a single-issue party; we are a party of the whole nation. Moderate, pragmatic, mainstream: committed to re-uniting our country and building a country that works for everyone - the agenda I set out in my first speech outside this front door.
Delivering the Brexit people voted for. Building a country that works for everyone. I have devoted myself unsparingly to these tasks ever since I became prime minister.
And I stand ready to finish the job.
14:15 MPs and Cabinet members rally around Prime Minister
Mrs May has secured almost unanimous support from her cabinet ahead of tonight’s motion of no confidence.
Notably, none of the high-profile Brexiters, such as Michael Gove and Liam Fox, who might have been considered potential rivals have broken rank. Outside of the cabinet, some 56 MPs have publicly declared their support for the Prime Minister.
Health Secretary Matthew Hancock has predicted Mrs May will win the vote with a "strong majority." She requires the support of 158 Conservative MPs, a simple majority, to see off the challenge.
Profile: How Benazir Bhutto and personal tragedy influenced Theresa May's early years
Theresa May’s political career stands at the brink but what is driving her on is a strong sense of duty forged in her childhood
The anarchy engulfing her leadership, even before the confidence vote in her Conservative party, lies in stark contrast to her early years in the seaside town of Eastbourne.
If May falls, here are the favourites to be the next prime minister
14:00 'Grossly irresponsible' Conservative right-wing rebuked by MPs
A number of moderate Conservative MPs see this opportunity to slap down the European Research Group (ERG) wing of the party.
The pro-Brexit group, headed by Jacob Rees-Mogg has led efforts to depose Mrs May, over what they see as a failure to deliver on Brexit.
If the Prime Minister survives tonight’s vote, she will be given 12 months’ worth of breathing space from this hardline wing of her own party, as party rules dictate another vote can’t be held for a year.
13:50 Stock markets rise as May comes out fighting
The British pound and stock markets rose slightly after Mrs May said she would contest the confidence vote.
The pound rose 0.43 per cent to $1.2541 at 13:26 time recovering from a 20-month low it touched after MP Graham Brady said a no-confidence vote would be held Wednesday between 22:00 and 00:00.
The FTSE 100 index increased 0.67 per cent at 13:26 time.
13:30 Conservative MPs rally around Theresa May while Labour lies low
"I think some of my colleagues have either forgotten to take their meds in the last 24 hours or totally lost leave of all of their senses," Conservative MP Simon Hoare told Sky News.
Quoting Theresa May and predicting she will remain in her position, Mr Hoare said he could see "no upside at all to changing a Prime Minister who is working her guts out to try to get the right deal for the country and to try to keep it all together."
Mr Hoare also said losing the vote would most likely lead to a general election and potentially a labour government.
In perhaps a sign of their confidence, Conservative MPs have also been goading the Labour opposition into tabling a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May.
Mr Hoare, who works under Home Secretary Sajid Javid – seen by many as a potential replacement for Mrs May - told British TV that the Labour party should “grow a pair” and call for a vote. Only the official opposition can call for such a motion.
On Monday night, another Conservative MP – Arch-remainer Anna Soubry, labelled Mr Corbyn’s opposition “a complete joke”, for their apparent lack of interest in tabling a vote of no confidence.
Mr Corbyn has insisted that it is more a matter of timing. He told Labour MPs on Tuesday, “We need to do the appropriate thing at the appropriate time to have a motion of no confidence in order to get rid of this Government”.
What is the 1922 Committee?
Also known as "men in grey suits", the Committee is now one of the most powerful bodies in the UK and holds power over the Conservative party leadership.
12:40 Theresa May: 'I stand ready to finish the job'
"A change of leadership in our party now would put our country at risk when we can least afford it."
"One of the first acts [of the new leader] would have to be delaying or rescinding Article 50."
"Weeks tearing ourselves apart when we should standing together serving our country," she said.
"The British people want us to get on with it," she said.
"I stand ready to finish the job," she said before leaving the podium and re-entering 10 Downing Street.
Theresa May: 'I will contest that vote with everything I've got'
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs May defended her leadership.
"I will contest that vote with everything I've got," Mrs May said before listing her contribution to the party.
Members of May's cabinet rally support on Twitter
Members of the Prime Minister's cabinet, who are among those considered leadership contenders, have expressed their support for Mrs May, including Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
12: 20 Theresa May to speak outside 10 Downing Street
Mrs May will speak outside 10 Downing Street imminently to address the vote of no confidence in her leadership this evening.
Conservative leadership rules state that 15 per cent of MPs can trigger a contest by writing a letter of no-confidence in the incumbent.
That figure is currently 48 and when the threshold was met, a senior party figure is obliged to oversee the vote.
The chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs Sir Graham Brady sent that letter to Theresa May on Wednesday morning.
The no-confidence vote will be held before the end of the day. Mrs May needs a majority of one to survive. In practice, this may not be enough but Mrs May’s supporters say that outcome would resolve matters.
The Conservative MPs get to choose the last two contenders who would run as potential successors if the vote goes against Mrs May.
Then the party’s members would elect the win but that mass ballot could take weeks.Source: The National