Theresa May, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since 2016, fought for her political career when members of her own party triggered a vote of no-confidence in her leadership. The vote of no confidence stems from May's handling of the Brexit situation.
The vote took place Wednesday evening but May survived after 48 Conservative Members of Parliament submitted letters demanding a vote to the 1922 Committee. May managed to secure 63% of the total vote making her immune from a challenge to her leadership for the next year.
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May offered a public statement over the victory in Downing Street where she vowed to deliver the Brexit "people voted for". She added that she was now intent on listening to the concerns raised by the MPs who voted against her. Supporters of the UK Prime Minister asked the party to move on from the disagreement.
Critics said losing the support of a third of her party was "devastating", yet May won the confidence vote with a majority of 83. 63% of conservatives backed her with %37 voting against. The vote of no confidence was triggered when 48 of her MPs decided to attempt to unseat her over her Brexit policy. The %37 of Conservative MPs say that May's Brexit policy betrays the 2016 referendum result.
Political commentator for BBC Laura Kuenssberg said the number of people opposing May was "not at all comfortable" for the prime minister and called the vote a "real blow" to her position as leader of the UK.
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May said shortly after the results of the vote were announced that she would be fighting for changes to her Brexit deal at an EU summit Thursday. "I am pleased to have received the backing of my colleagues in tonight's ballot," May said. "Whilst I am grateful for that support, a significant number of colleagues did cast a vote against me and I have listened to what they said."
May also added that a "renewed mission - delivering the Brexit people voted for, bringing the country back together and building a country that really works for everyone".
The Conservative Response
The leader of the call for a vote of no confidence was Jacob Rees-Mogg who said losing the support of a third of her MPs was a "terrible result for the prime minister."
Despite May winning the vote, Rees-Mogg and his supporters still called for her resignation. Tory MP Mark Francois who supports Brexit said in an interview with BBC that it was "devastating" that more than half of "backbenchers" who were not serving in the government had denounced May.
"In the cold light of day when people reflect on that number - 117 - it's a massive number, far more than anyone was predicting," Francois said. "I think that will be very sobering for the prime minister. I think she needs to think very carefully about what she does now."
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The Opposition Response
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wasn't interested in the vote and said it had "changed nothing". Corbyn added, "Theresa May has lost her majority in Parliament, her government is in chaos and she's unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country." The SNP's Stephen Gethins accused May's government of "playing games with people's lives".
Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of DUP, said, "I don't think this vote really changes anything very much in terms of the arithmetic." In a last minute speech before the vote, May told her MPs that she promised to step down as prime minister before the next election scheduled for 2022.
May said that "in her heart" she wants to continue to lead but has come to realize that her party does not want her to but she would not give a date for her departure from office. The stakes were high Wednesday, if May lost the vote of no confidence she would have been forced to step down as leader of both the Conservative Party and as the Prime Minister.
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