Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, has won the confidence vote tabled against her by her own party: by 200 votes to 117 against. This is not a victory in any real sense for May, as she seeks to secure to support for her Brexit deal. Government figures tonight are surprised by the number of MPs voting against. No. 10 had hoped to keep the rebellion in double figures.
However, ministers are keen to put to The Spectator that 200 is a respectable figure – even if it is on the low end of respectable. May’s critics will likely argue that the defeat is in triple figures so she should resign. That looks unlikely. Even if May had won by a mere 20 votes the expectation was that she would fight on.
So, what happens now? As one ministerial aide put it, ‘May is dead’. She can limp on in the short term but a long term premiership is now out of the question. In terms of leadership rivals, this is good news for figures like Sajid Javid who want time to build their pitch and bad news for figures like Boris Johnson who need to seize on the Brexit momentum. In terms of her longevity, May herself even had to admit this in her appearance before the 1922 to get to this point. But then again, May could only need a couple of months. The pitch today has been that May will deliver Brexit and then go. Today’s result means that she can do little more than that.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.