May Wins Confidence Vote

She won by 83 votes, 200 to 117 – with less than two thirds of Tory MPs backing her.

In the words of Margaret Thatcher “she fights on”. Even after Thatcher won her confidence vote she resigned a week later…

Theresa May’s Best Bits

With Theresa May’s premiership hanging in the balance tonight, her “best bits” have been tastefully compiled into a Big Brother-style eviction video. Thanks for the memories!

Theresa May Facing No Confidence Vote

After endless speculation and numerous false starts, the 48 letter threshold has finally been reached. Theresa May will face a vote of no confidence today with the result due to be announced at 9pm. Tory MPs will vote between 6 and 8pm after May addresses them, possibly for the last time, at 5pm. May has come out fighting, saying she will “contest that vote with everything I’ve got” and that she will “stand ready to finish the job”:

The next twelve hours will determine whether her party will let her…

May: “I’m Not Capable of a Parliamentary Ejaculation”

While Theresa May hasn’t managed to bring a meaningful vote to Parliament thus far, she did succeed in delivering what must be one of the most salacious lines ever uttered by a sitting Prime Minister in the House of Commons, telling Rupa Huq: “if she looks carefully I think she’ll see that I’m not capable of a Parliamentary ejaculation.” For once, even Bercow is lost for words…

UPDATE: Iain Dale points out that Rupa Huq has form:

May’s Freudian Slip

The Prime Minister (presumably accidentally) appropriated a Lib Dem slogan at the dispatch box this afternoon. Not surprising she wants an ‘exit from Brexit’, given the month she’s been having…

78% of Local Tory Members Now “Oppose Continuing Leadership of Theresa May”

The Orpington Conservative Association’s Political Forum met the week before last and local Tory MP Jo Johnson was in attendance. The purpose was to discuss the Withdrawal Agreement. Local constituency meetings are not something that Guido would normally report on, however it is worth looking at this to get an insight into what Tory MPs are hearing in their constituencies and the pressure they are under over the vote. This is from a minute of the meeting:

Sixty email responses from members unable to attend the meeting, together with fifty members present have given us a very clear message to convey to Theresa May’s government. As before, we gave an opportunity to vote on a number of positions: 87% were against the WA and did not see it as a good deal for Britain 78% were opposed to the continuing leadership of Theresa May. 63% supported our MP Jo Johnson in his resignation, and those that did not largely gave as their reason Jo’s call for a 2. referendum. 86% were opposed to a second referendum 90% were in favour of leaving under WTO rules (no deal). And notably for an MP that has preferred remain and an association that stongly supports leave: 98% agreed with Jo Johnson’s description of the deal which can be summarised as the worst of all worlds and a historic failure.

Given these figures it is hard to credit the govemment’s claim that associations support Theresa May’s deal in contrast to the many back bench MPs that have stated their opposition. From our contacts with other associations we know that Orpington Association is not alone in its views.

A stunning three-quarters of Jo Johnson’s local members were “opposed to the continuing leadership of Theresa May” with nearly nine out of ten opposed to the May’s Withdrawal Agreement. According to ever useful ConservativeHome polling, about a third of Tory members support a WTO terms “no deal” and another third a Canada-style deal. This is the position across the Conservative Party back in MPs’ constituencies. It is hard to see how if May loses the vote next week Tory MPs will not be under pressure from their members to trigger a leadership vote…

Tory Grassroots Now Negative Towards Cabinet

This is from the ever useful ConservativeHome reader survey is interesting. Mark Wallace has aggregated the Cabinet’s net approval ratings into one figure. He uses it to chart “the stark decline of Tory morale”, it is he says “the first time the whole Cabinet has had an overall negative approval rating in the ConservativeHome survey… That is a pretty devastating verdict from grassroots members on the Government’s direction of travel.” Collective Cabinet responsibility means that leadership contenders are now contaminating their own brands…

Next week, when May’s government loses the meaningful vote, it will be a repudiation of the policy and the Prime Minister who drove it. More letters will go in to Graham Brady as more Tory backbenchers come to the conclusion that her premiership is unsalvageable. A no confidence vote will, if Tory MPs have any sense of self-preservation, lead at the very least to a complete change of government direction. This is the last chance to achieve a Brexit that really means Brexit.

May Has Been Seeing Small Groups of MPs

This afternoon Theresa May has been seeing small groups of Tory MPs, hoping to win them round to supporting the withdrawal agreement, which is being voted on in just eight days time. After her tour of the country last week, the Prime Minister has now decided to talk to the people who will actually be voting on her agreement…

One backbencher told Guido “at least she’s talking to us in person now, not relying on communicating by postcards and cattle market attendees.” Going well then…

ConHome Survey: Majority of Tories Want May Gone Now

The proportion of Tory members who want May gone as Prime Minister now has hit 50% for the first time in ConservativeHome’s monthly membership survey. 80% think she should go immediately or before the next election. These are the highest percentages ever recorded since ConservativeHome started asking this question following last year’s general election. She may be ahead in the polls, but the Prime Minister has never been less popular with her party…

May Does Not Rule Out Resigning If Deal Voted Down

“If it doesn’t get voted in, what happens next, do you resign?”

“Well, I’m focusing on getting that vote and getting the vote over the line.”

No answer…

May’s FrEUdian Slip

This morning in a mammoth session in front of the Liaison Committee, Theresa May had an unfortunate slip of the tongue…

“It will be a decision for Parliament as to whether they accept the deal that I and the Government have negotiated on behalf of the European – err, of the United Kingdom with the European Union.”

Perhaps she needn’t have corrected herself…

Tory Leader Ousted In Vote of No Confidence

The Conservatives have ousted their leader after a short time in office, where she presided over an unstable period, losing seats, and being accused of leading the executive in a direction her backbenchers were unhappy with… on Wokingham Council.

Council Leader Charlotte Haitham Taylor lost a confidence vote last week amongst Wokingham councillors. She had led the Conservatives on the council (which covers the Prime Minister’s constituency) since May last year. The swift coup occurred without a single secret letter being sent. Taking notes, Jacob? 

Mr Blobby’s Verdict on Theresa May

Renowned political commentator Mr. Blobby has finally weighed in on the Prime Minister’s position. By the sounds of things he thinks she’s a gonner…

Corbyn @’s the Wrong Theresa May

Fresh from not reading the Draft Withdrawal Agreement, Jeremy Corbyn has (presumably accidentally) linked to a foul mouthed parody account of the Prime Minister, which has twelve followers, and describes itself as a “well known spelling mistake.”

Maybe those new glasses aren’t working out for him…

Esther McVey Asks If We Will Leave The EU on 29th March

Theresa May went some way to undermine her “my deal or no Brexit” strategy by confirming to Esther McVey that we will leave the EU on 29th March 2019. Come what may…

Spain Will Vote Against Withdrawal Agreement if No Changes Over Gibraltar

Socialist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced that Spain will vote against the Withdrawal Agreement if there are no changes to how Gibraltar is dealt with, saying “Gibraltar is represented by the United Kingdom, but it doesn’t belong to the United Kingdom.”

Last week Sanchez suggested he will vote against the agreement if there is no explicit legal guarantee that his Government is given a veto over whether the future agreement can apply to Gibraltar. He said that he will argue for “shared sovereignty” over Gibraltar during the future relationship negotiations. This deal is hanging by a thread…

May: There Is More Negotiation Taking Place

May: 48 Letters Have Not Been Reached

Voters Want May (and Her Deal) Gone Now

YouGov have found that the British public want Theresa May to stand down as Prime Minister by 47-33%. An even clearer majority of leave voters want her gone…

The public also believe May’s Brexit deal does not respect the referendum result. Contrary to the narrative, Leave voters clearly don’t see Brexit as all about immigration…

PM Can’t Say If There Will Be A Free Vote

“So there will be a free vote?”

“I didn’t say… I’m not… look, Nick… there is cabinet responsibility/ The Government will put its decision to the House of Commons.”

Penny Mordaunt spent hours last night in Number 10 arguing for a free vote on the draft withdrawal agreement.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”

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