Embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May has won a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party by 200 votes to 117.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on December 13, 2018

The margin, while fairly comfortable, was not the resounding success May and her supporters would have liked, especially as she was running unopposed. She only received one more vote than she did in the 2016 leadership ballot that saw her become Prime Minister.

The result, however, means that nobody can challenge her leadership of the party for the next 12 months.

Eurosceptics within May’s Conservative party unenthused by her win

One of the most prominent Brexit advocates, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has already suggested she should resign anyway. “She clearly does not have the confidence of the House of Commons and should make way for someone who does,” he said. His colleague Simon Hoare disagreed with these comments, saying: “Losing with bad grace and churlishness and just being a bad sport is not what people expect.

Conservative Member of Parliament Owen Paterson tweeted that the result was “V poor” for May. “Setting aside the Payroll, she has secured well under half of the Backbench vote.” He outlined a number of the key demands of hard Brexiteers; that May must remove the UK from the EU’s single market and customs union and from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Cabinet Minister Chris Grayling said it had “hardly been a joyful day” for the ruling Conservative Party, but said parliament “voted very comfortably that it wants her to stay, wants her to take us through Brexit.”

Sajid Javid, considered one of the likely candidates for the leadership if May fell, wrote on Twitter: “Right, vote over. Time to come together, deliver Brexit and so much more.”

The result is unlikely to quash ongoing debate over the form of Brexit

May has faced trenchant opposition from within her own party to the Brexit deal she struck in November.

48 Members of the Conservative Party triggered the confidence vote in May, arguing that she had betrayed the 2016 referendum which saw the public vote to leave the EU. May had originally been a supporter of the ‘Remain’ movement.

On Monday 10 December she called for a parliamentary vote on the deal, which would see the UK maintain strong ties with the European Union. She is still likely to face a protracted battle to pass the deal through parliament.

Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab were seen as the most likely challengers to May though ultimately neither ran against her. Both resigned from their roles, as Foreign Secretary and Brexit Secretary respectively, in protest at the concessions to the EU May’s deal included.

Before the vote, May promised to step down from her role before the 2022 election. She also warned there could be a delay to Brexit, or the plan to leave the EU could be abandoned entirely, if she was voted out.

On 13 December local time, May will leave for a summit in Brussels, where she will try to convince EU leaders to change their minds and amend the deal.