Vote leaves May’s authority fatally undermined, Sturgeon warns

Theresa May’s authority has been “fatally undermined” despite winning a confidence vote, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Scotland’s First Minister described the 200 to 117 vote result as “barely even a Pyrrhic victory” and said it cannot be used by the Prime Minister to claim the only Brexit choice is between her deal or a departure from the EU without any deal.

Ms Sturgeon had earlier called on Mrs May to resign along with her Cabinet because “it’s made such a mess of Brexit”.

After the result of the Conservative MPs’ vote, Ms Sturgeon said: “She may have clung on to the Conservative leadership, but her remaining authority has been fatally undermined.

“In any normal situation, the Prime Minister’s position would be untenable.

“The crisis and chaos currently facing the UK is entirely a result of the vicious civil war that has engulfed the self-centred Conservative Party – at a crucial time in the UK’s history, it has a lame duck Prime Minister saddled with a lame duck Brexit deal.

“The cost to Scotland of being under Westminster control and at the mercy of a Tory civil war has never been clearer.

“The Prime Minister cannot – and must not – use this result to support her claim that the choice is now between her bad Brexit and a catastrophic no-deal Brexit.

“Parliament is simply not going to approve her deal – and is also likely to make clear that there is no majority for no-deal. Every day that she refuses to accept this is another day wasted.”

Brexit
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, announced the result of the vote (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The First Minister added: “The Scottish Government and SNP will continue to make the case for Scotland’s overwhelming vote to stay in Europe to be respected, and we will support any second EU referendum which has remain as an option.

“Our priority is to do all we can to stop the UK Government dragging Scotland off the Brexit cliff-edge, which is set to do so much damage to jobs, communities and living standards.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell backed the Prime Minister in the confidence vote and said it was now time to “get on with delivering an orderly exit from the EU”.

Prime Minister has won vote of confidence convincingly. Time to move on and get on with delivering an orderly exit from the EU #BackTheBrexitDeal 🇬🇧

— David Mundell (@DavidMundellDCT) December 12, 2018

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson – who is on maternity leave – also tweeted her support for Mrs May in the lead up to the confidence vote.

Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird said: “Theresa May has already lost all authority. She has clung on for now to lead a Government that was the first in history to be found in contempt of Parliament and she is still dodging a vote on her Brexit deal because she knows she will lose. She is in office, but not in power.”