Vote of no confidence called by Tory MPs – What happens next?

What times we live in. Our polity appears to be disabled and functioning Government is barely doing any of that.

The decision by 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady to call a snap vote of confidence poll in the Prime Minister’s leadership undoubtedly helps Theresa May. MPs have barely 12 hours to grapple with the prospect of removing her as Tory leader – but remember not necessarily immediately as Prime Minister.

Just as Margaret Thatcher was ‘defenestrated’ by her own MPs in 1990, she stayed in office as caretaker until a new leader was elected. In those days it was just Tory MPs who had the vote – now it is also the party membership.

Early indications from my ‘WhatsApp’ reach across the Tory parliamentary party since 7:30am this morning indicate that there is strong likelihood that the Prime Minister will win today’s ballot BUT the real question is how many Tory MPs decide not to back her. Over 100 MPs will create real difficulty.

If the Prime Minister gets the backing of her fellow parliamentarians tonight there is a strong likelihood that the European Research Group (ERG) will detach themselves formally from the Conservative whip. They have been operating as a party within a party for some time and this may now be their ‘Corn Laws’ moment to permanently step outside.

Watch out for the ERG approaching Labour and the SNP overnight to support a vote of No Confidence in the entire government as soon as tomorrow. The ERG would remain happy to see the clock tick out on the Prime Minister’s deal and a no deal Brexit to ensue.

If the PM loses, it looks like there will be a long list of contenders but the ERG have agreed to meet to ensure they have ONE candidate. [Good luck with that I think!]

Until 20:00 tonight Tory MPs will be listening to what their constituency associations have to say. But one thing I can tell you is don’t look at Conservative MPs on Twitter today. I’m reliably informed by one Tory MP already that what they say will not match their actions in a secret ballot!

And all this while the Brexit clock ticks….

Get in Touch

Iain Anderson

Executive Chairman

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