Ballot opens for Tory MPs to cast votes on Theresa May's leadership

Ms. May won a non-confidence vote among her fellow Conservative Party MPs by 200 to 117.

Banbury MP Victoria Prentis also tweeted her support for Theresa May, saying: "Inundated with messages of support for the #PM from my constituents this morning. Changing our leader right now would be an act of utter self-indulgence and it wouldn't change anything on Brexit".

Well I hope she will win, and that she will get on and be able to bring to parliament this and we will vote on all kinds of permutations; and if it's rejected she may well want to pivot to some new solution.

A ballot this between 6pm and 8pm this evening will now determine her fate as leader.

A day after pulling the vote in the face of ridicule from lawmakers, May rushed to The Hague for breakfast with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and then to Berlin to meet Chancellor Merkel before a trip to Brussels.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, said: "The threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded".

But in a defiant statement outside 10 Downing Street, May said "a change of leadership in the Conservative Party now will put our country's future at risk".

"Building a stronger economy, delivering first class public services, building the homes that families need, we owe it to the people who put us here to put their priorities first".

If she loses the vote, that will trigger a leadership contest.

"I will, of course, be voting in support of Theresa May".

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A spokesman for the prime minister further helped her efforts to see off the coup this afternoon, signalling to reporters for the first time that May was unlikely to lead the party into the next election, now scheduled for 2022.

Germany's Angela Merkel and other European Union leaders ruled out more negotiations on Brexit on Tuesday (Dec 11) but were looking for ways to offer Britain reassurances after Prime Minister Theresa May pulled a parliamentary vote rather than lose heavily. The thinking is that if the PM did not have the support of at least half of her backbenchers, she would have to go.

He said later, "I just couldn't believe we're still talking about the [Irish] backstop which is toxic and totally unacceptable to the [Democratic Unionist Party]" which has a confidence and supply agreement with the Tory government, and would certainly have voted down the deal.

She could, for example, threaten her rebels that without their backing she would have to lean towards a softer Brexit- something that could gain support from opposition MPs.

Just before the vote May revealed she was prepared to bow out as prime minister by not contesting the next general election in a move created to buy her time to complete the Brexit plans.

"To me it is entirely the wrong time, and not the way I like things to be done in politics or in life, and therefore I will be supporting the Prime Minister in the vote tonight".

Most of the county's MPs had publicly backed the PM, with the exception of Gravesham MP Adam Holloway, who had already been among MPs demanding a vote.

He resigned his Cabinet position in July in protest over May's Brexit plan, which he denounced as too soft and has since then eviscerated her exit strategy in regular columns for the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Hours before her lawmakers were due to decide her fate, May said she would fight for her job with everything she had.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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