The decision is made. Theresa May can stay on as the leader of the British Conservatives and as the prime minister of the United Kingdom. During a vote of confidence, the majority of the Tories joined their leader. The result was announced after 22 hours of Belgian time by Graham Brady, the chairman of the ‘1922 Committee’, the committee of members of the British Conservatives.
200 Conservatives voted in favour, 117 party members voted against. With that, May receives sufficient support and does not have to withdraw as leader of the party. She needed at least 159 votes, that threshold was more than exceeded. Yet it is clear that more than one in three Tories are no longer satisfied with their prime minister.
“After this vote, we now have to work further on realizing the Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country”, said May after a brief press conference. She stated that she is entering a renewed mission to bring the country back together.
Theresa May also wanted to stay on as prime minister. During her statement she voted in favor of her official residence in Downing Street 10 she said she would fight for her position as leader of the Conservative Party and as British Prime Minister, “with everything I have in me”. She painted herself as a loyal party soldier, who took the lead in the interests of the country.
Rees-Mogg demands dismissal
Despite her victory, the arch-conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg still wants May to resign. He had a decisive influence on the vote of confidence and, shortly after the announcement of the Brexit deal, gave up his trust in May. “It’s a terrible result for the prime minister,” Rees-Mogg said to the BBC tonight.
“The Prime Minister must realize that, taking into account all constitutional norms, she urgently needs to go to the Queen to resign her.”
According to minister of transport Chris Grayling, a loyal supporter of May, she achieved a “comfortable” victory.
For May the brexit deal is “a crucial moment”. “We are about to regain control over our borders. We can regain control of our economy. That is why I absolutely want to continue my job as prime minister “, according to the British Prime Minister. She still believes that it is possible: “It is within our reach”. About her tour of European leaders yesterday she even said that she had “made progress”.
“This is not the right time for new leadership,” said May. “This creates uncertainty and a great risk for the future of Great Britain.” According to May, the new leader will no longer have time to keep the Brexit on the right track and will have no choice but to postpone Europe’s separation or even to cancel. And May is an absolute opponent: the Brexit must and will continue, if it depends on her.
Not in 2022
During a closed meeting with her MPs prior to the vote, May announced that she will not take part in the next elections in 2022. “She said it in a pretty emotional way. She said: I want it in my heart, but I now see that I’m not going to do it “, Minister of pensions Amber Rudd told afterwards.
May became prime minister shortly after the British decided in a referendum in 2016 to leave the European Union. Within her party she has to cope with criticism for the brexit plan that she has negotiated with the European Union. May postponed a vote in the British House of Commons on the brexit agreement on Monday for an indefinite period.
Negotiations with EU
After her victory was announced this evening, May stated that tomorrow at the European summit she will ask “legal and political guarantees” for the backstop, the emergency solution for the Irish border issue included in the Brexit agreement.
In the European district it was already taken care of that May would want guarantees that the backstop will not be put into practice. “But that is excluded”, it sounds affirmative. “This is about peace, not just about trade in goods. We want to facilitate the approval in the British Parliament and we certainly do not want a brexit without agreement, but we will not go back to the texts nor to our principles. May will not be able to solve the problems in London in London. ”
“The discussion can be concluded with a written statement, but that remains to be seen,” says a high EU source. The agreement itself can no longer be negotiated. “We have little room for maneuver. For us this will actually be a communication exercise “, it says.