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21st January 2019

How British MPs Voted Against Theresa May! What's Brexiteers' Next Plan?

By Greg Heffer (13/12/18)

Despite their failure to remove the Prime Minister, those opposed to Mrs Theresa May return to their efforts to oust her from Number 10 Downing St.


Dominic Raab has become the first of Theresa May's ex-cabinet ministers to confirm he tried to oust her from Downing Street, as Brexiteers kept up their pressure on the prime minister. (Photo: Theresa May in the House of Commons). 

The former Brexit secretary revealed he voted against Mrs May "very much in sorrow, not in anger" during Wednesday night's confidence vote.

Despite their failure to remove the prime minister, who secured 200 votes in her favour compared to 117 against, those opposed to Mrs May returned to their efforts on Thursday.

Mr Raab, who quit Mrs May's government in anger at her Brexit deal last month, made the most significant intervention as he cast doubt on the prime minister's chances of continuing on, despite her victory.

Cheers, tears and bad blood - the view from Committee Room 14. Theresa May's political fate hung in the balance for four hours in a stiflingly hot corridor of the House of Commons.

"We'll have to make the best of it, but I think that my biggest fear now is that if she continues in place, we have a greater risk of a Jeremy Corbyn government," he said.

"We will have to back her as best we can but problem is that both in relation to Brexit and wider sustainability of the government given likelihood of any changes to the deal, given the likely scale of opposition, it looks very difficult to see how this prime minister can lead us forward."

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith also revealed he voted against the prime minister, telling Sky News what "tipped" him over the edge was Mrs May's delay to the House of Commons vote on her Brexit deal.

Others who had revealed before the confidence vote that they were siding against Mrs May included Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chair of the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Eurosceptics, as well as former cabinet ministers John Whittingdale and Owen Paterson.

Along with those MPs who were known to have submitted letters of no confidence in the prime minister - the mechanism which triggered the confidence vote - former Brexit minister Steve Baker, ex-London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith and Michael Tomlinson also stated they would not be supporting Mrs May before the vote.

James Duddridge Conservative MP for the constituency of Rochford and Southend East, in Essex, does not wear a tie as he asked a question during Prime Minister Questions in the House of Commons.

Chris Green; Marcus Fysh MP Pic: UK Parliament; Zac Goldsmith; Conservative Sir Bill Cash concerned about Brexit terms; Mr Philip Hollobone; Andrew Lewer MP; Crispin Blunt MP; Owen Paterson MP.

Unknown Tory MP - one of those who has put in a letter to the 1922 committee. What are the PM's opponents saying now? In the immediate aftermath on Wednesday's vote, the prime minister's opponents took part in a briefing war against Mrs May's allies in an attempt to spin the result as a major blow for her authority.

ERG officer Mark Francois claimed the result was "very bad news" for Mrs May, adding: "Over a third of the parliamentary party, in a secret ballot, voted against the prime minister as their leader - over half of her backbenchers. "For any prime minister that's an incredibly sobering result."

Jacob Rees-Mogg says the prime minister has lost the support of Tory backbenchers over Brexit. PM really lost 'very heavily'. Mr Rees-Mogg said it was "not impossible" that, on reflection, Mrs May would decide to stand aside. "You may remember that Margaret Thatcher ... said 'We fight on, we fight to win'," he said.

"Nobody was tougher than Mrs Thatcher and the next day she resigned. So, it's not impossible. I think Theresa May should consider what she said last night. I agree with her that we do want somebody who can unite the country and the Conservative Party, and she has to ask herself is she realistically that person?"

However, May loyalist Simon Hoare disputed assertions that the vote revealed the prime minister has now lost the faith of the majority of her backbenchers. He suggested, due to the secret nature of the vote, government ministers could have been among those voting against Mrs May instead.

"It was a SECRET ballot so no one knows how anyone voted therefore anyone on the payroll could vote against and not be sacked as no one would know," he tweeted.

Can they make another move against the PM? Following her victory on Wednesday night, Mrs May is immune from facing another confidence vote in her leadership for another 12 months.

However, as well as suggesting the prime minister herself should to take the decision to quit, Tory MPs hellbent on removing her could also consider more drastic measures.

It has been suggested some Brexiteers are prepared to vote against the government if a parliamentary vote of no confidence were tabled by Labour - even if it leads to a general election - in the event Mrs May tries to force her Brexit deal through the Commons.

Tory MP Richard Drax told Sky News. I think this is bad for the prime minister. But this is not about her personally. 'The PM should do the honourable thing and hand over to a Brexiteer'.

"Honestly I'm not scared of an election and I don't have all that big a majority. I'd much rather face the voters on this than just go along with it," an MP told The Times.

DUP sources also told Sky News the party, who prop up Mrs May's administration at Westminster, will vote against the government in a no confidence vote if her deal passes the Commons.

However, they will vote with the government if the prime minister's EU agreement is defeated by MPs. Some Tory Brexiteers might be expected to hold a similar stance to the Northern Ireland party.

Courtesy: By Greg Heffer, Sky News Political Reporter, Thursday 13 December 2018

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