UK Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a confidence vote on her leadership of the Conservative Party, hanging on 200 votes to 117 for an 83 count majority.
Having kept her cool and calm for a number of months now — even in the face of some brutal words from her party rivals — she was also direct to the point in responding to the vote, giving a brief statement outside Number 10 Downing Street.
“A significant number of colleagues did vote against me and I have listened to what they said,” she told reporters.
But she said she will get on with the job of Brexit, and will take concerns that members of parliament have about the current proposal back to European leaders — including regarding the ‘backstop’ of Northern Ireland.
Since taking the top job — and the unenviable task of managing and negotiating a Brexit deal — she’s been associated with the ‘glass cliff’ phenomenon. But she has not fallen off it yet (nor did she a few weeks back during another dangerous period for her leadership.)
She now gets a reprieve from a further confidence vote, given party rules state there can be no further formal move against her leadership for 12 months.
However, May has said she won’t contest the 2022 elections, according to reports from the 40 minutes she spent addressing the backbench committee prior to the vote.
The no confidence vote was triggered by the right-wing faction of her party, with a number of conservatives declaring their support for or against on social media.
Being very busy doesn’t necessarily mean an individual is being productive. I admire Theresa May’s stamina but as Conservative Leader and Prime Minister she’s seen Brexit as a problem to be mitigated not a global opportunity. Therefore, regrettably, I have lost confidence in her.
— Henry Smith MP 🇬🇧 (@HenrySmithUK) December 12, 2018
Some even shared their vote cards on Twitter, with their choices marked.
Proud to have voted in support of the PM, thank you to the many people who have contacted my office today to urge me to do just that pic.twitter.com/pF5ChA4xHh
— Margot James (@margot_james_mp) December 12, 2018
Earlier on in the day, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn noted the “chaos at the heart of this government” declaring that many people in the country were finding “planning ahead impossible.”
May fired back angrily during Question Time, saying that all Corbyn wants to do is create chaos, division and damage. The comments were met with cheers from her own backbenchers, which must have been a little confidence-boosting, given the impending leadership vote just hours away.
Earlier this week May canceled a Parliamentary vote on her draft Brexit agreement. It was headed for defeat.