Prime minister Theresa May survives no confidence vote

May travels to Brussels today “seeking legal and political assurances” to concerns expressed about Northern Ireland backstop

Photo: PA

Theresa May has survived an attempt by Conservative Party rebels to kick her out of Downing Street by winning a vote of no-confidence in her leadership - despite more than one-third of her MPs rebelling against her.

Conservative MPs voted 200 to 117 to support the prime minister, meaning she cannot be challenged against for at least a year.

The result will provide some relief for Downing Street, but the number of those opposed could spell further trouble for the prime minister.


The result was announced by Sir Graham Brady in Parliament's oak-panelled committee room 14, to loud cheers and a standing ovation by the watching MPs.

He said:  "The number of votes cast in favour of having confidence in Theresa May was 200 and against was 117. Under the rules set out in the constitution of the Conservative Party no further confidence vote can take place for a least a year."

In a statement after the vote, May said “we now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country”.

That is “a Brexit that delivers on the vote that people gave, that brings back controls of our money, our borders and our laws, that protects jobs, security and the union, that brings the country back together, rather than entrenching division”, she added.

“For my part, I've heard what the House of Commons said about the Northern Ireland backstop and when I go to the European Council tomorrow I will be seeking legal and political assurances that will assuage the concerns that members of Parliament have on that issue.

The ballot was triggered yesterday morning when Sir Graham confirmed that the 48 letter threshold for triggering a no-confidence vote in the prime minister had been passed.

In an attempt to win over wavering MPs, May later told a meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee that she would not lead her party into the 2022 election.

May will attend a European Council summit today where she has vowed to push for fresh guarantees on the controversial Northern Ireland backstop.

But there are growing signs that Brussels will reject her central demand for "legal assurances" that the back-up plan for the Northern Ireland border will not stay in force indefinitely.

Brexiteers and the DUP - who the government relies on for her Commons majority - fear the backstop could leave the UK trapped in the EU's customs union without end if it is triggered.

A government source told the Financial Times that British negotiators would be seeking "a joint interpretative instrument" to try and convince sceptical MPs to get behind Mrs May's deal.

"We cannot contemplate any instrument that will complicate, constrain or in any way cut across the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement that has already been agreed," a EU diplomatic source said.

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