May vows to ‘get on with the job’ after seeing off bid to oust her as PM
Theresa May has urged her party to “come together” after seeing off an attempt by rebel backbenchers to oust her as Conservative leader and Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister won a confidence vote of the 317 Conservative MPs by a margin of 200 to 117 in a secret ballot at Westminster.
But she sowed the seeds for her eventual departure by telling Tory MPs that she would not lead the party into the next general election, expected in 2022.
And she immediately faced calls to resign from Brexit-backing MPs including Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said that she had lost the confidence of more than one-third of her MPs and a majority of backbenchers.
Speaking in Downing Street moments after the result was announced, Mrs May acknowledged that a “significant” number of her MPs had voted against her and said: “I have listened to what they said.”
She pledged to seek “legal and political assurances” on the Brexit backstop to allay MPs’ concerns about her Withdrawal Agreement when she attends a European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday.
And she said she and her administration had a “renewed mission”, saying: “Following this ballot, we now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country.”
She said this must involve “politicians of all sides coming together and acting in the national interest”.
But Mr Rees-Mogg said: “It’s a terrible result for the Prime Minister, it really is.”
With the “payroll vote” of ministers, parliamentary aides and trade envoys all likely to have backed Mrs May, a majority of the remaining 160-170 backbenchers voted no confidence in her, he said.
“Of course I accept this result, but the Prime Minister must realise that under all constitutional norms, she ought to go to see the Queen urgently and resign.”