British Prime Minister Survives No-Confidence Vote

British Prime Minister Theresa May / Getty Images
December 12, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a challenge to her leadership Wednesday, winning a no-confidence vote initiated by fellow members of the Conservative Party. The vote was triggered after at least 48 members of Parliament (MPs) upset with her approach to Brexit addressed letters to the 1922 Committee, a body consisting of Conservative backbencher MPs. A vote of no-confidence is triggered if 15 percent of Conservative MPs write to the chair of the committee.

The final vote was 200 Conservative MPs for May and 117 against, according to BBC News. May is immune from another leadership challenge for one year.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling called this a "strong vote of support" for May, noting she got more votes than she did in the 2016 leadership election.

Likewise, Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the Exchequer, tweeted, "Tonight's vote of confidence in the Prime Minister Theresa May is the right one. Now is the time to focus on the future. Her deal means we will honour the referendum result while safeguarding jobs and maintaining business confidence."

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn disagreed, saying, "The prime minister has 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."

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a critic of May and staunch proponent of Brexit, said it was a "terrible result" for the prime minister.

"The Prime Minister must realize that on all constitutional norms she ought to go and see the Queen urgently," Rees-Mogg said, as quoted by Telegraph deputy political editor Steven Swinford. "She clearly doesn't have the confidence of the Commons. She should make way for someone who does."

According to Swinford, there were cheers among May's supporters when it was announced she had won the no-confidence vote. The room quieted, however, when he read the numbers.

Tim Shipman, political editor of the Sunday Times, noted that Margaret Thatcher resigned after receiving 204 votes, 4 more than May received.

Earlier this week, May delayed a parliamentary vote on her proposal to leave the European Union after several cabinet members suggested delay would be better than losing a vote.

"If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow, the deal would be rejected by a significant margin," May told the House of Commons.