Bri­tain’sMay sur­vivesMay faces bidup to to lead­er­shipoust her chal­lengeas PM

China Daily (Canada) - - WORLD - By EARLE GALE in Lon­don [email protected]­nadai­ By JU­LIAN SHEA in Lon­don ju­[email protected]­nadai­

Op­po­nents of Bri­tain’s prime min­is­ter, Theresa May, mounted a chal­lenge against her lead­er­ship of the Con­ser­va­tive Party on Wednes­day, a move that cul­mi­nated in a se­cret bal­lot of the party’s mem­bers of Par­lia­ment Theresa later May in is the to evening. con­tinue as British May prime said min­is­ter ahead of af­ter the sur­viv­ing chal­lenge from a vote within of no con­fi­dence her own in party her lead­er­ship — a so-called from vote of mem­bers no con­fi­dence of her — own that the Con­ser­va­tive is­sue was a Party. dis­trac­tion that could end The up vote, “de­lay­ing which or was even de­feated stop­ping by Brexit” 200 votes and to in­sisted 117, was she brought would about “con­test by her that own vote MPs, with every­thing un­happy at I have her got”. han­dling of the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in She Bri­tain’s had been at­tempt un­der to ex­tri­cate pres­sure it­self for months from the over Eu­ro­pean her han­dling Union, of the ne­go­ti­a­tions process known with as the Brexit. Eu­ro­pean Union about It came the United af­ter a King­dom’s long pe­riod pend­ing of in­creas­ingly exit from pub­lic the bloc and at the vo­cal end ten­sion of March. within the party about the is­sue She of said Brexit, chang­ing but hav­ing party leader, fi­nally and lost pa­tience there­fore and prime played min­is­ter, their would trump “put card, our Con­ser­va­tive coun­try’s fu­ture Party rules at risk mean and cre­ate that May’s un­cer­tainty op­po­nents when can­not we can chal­lenge least af­ford it”. her lead­er­ship again for an­other 12 months.

On Mon­day a par­lia­men­tary vote on her pro­pos­als for Brexit – which she was widely ex­pected to lose em­phat­i­cally - was post­poned at short no­tice. The fol­low­ing day May went to visit Eu­ro­pean lead­ers in an ef­fort to get fur­ther reassurances over the de­tails of fu­ture plans for the sta­tus of the bor­der be­tween North­ern Ire­land, part of the United King­dom, and EU mem­ber state the Repub­lic of Ire­land.

But even be­fore she had ar­rived, EU lead­ers made it clear that they were un­will­ing to make any sig­nif­i­cant amend­ments to her pro­pos­als which She has they been had crit­i­cized al­ready ap­proved from all sides, last month, with some so her Con­ser­va­tive trip seemed MPs des­tined fa­vor­ing to a end harder in dis­ap­point­ment. line with the EU, others Labour fa­vor­ing warned that a softer if she line, did and not some come back hop­ing with to sig­nif­i­cant back­track con­ces­sions, and re­main they an EU would mem­ber. call for a vote of no con­fi­dence in the govern­ment, and many Con­ser­va­tives also re­acted an­grily to her de­ci­sion, with in­flu­en­tial back­bencher Ja­cob Rees-Mogg call­ing it “a rot­ten and hu­mil­i­at­ing day for the govern­ment”.

On Wednes­day morn­ing, it was an­nounced by Sir Gra­ham Brady MP, the chair­man of the in­flu­en­tial back­bench MPs group the 1922 Com­mit­tee, that he had re­ceived suf­fi­cient let­ters from mem­bers of the par­lia­men­tary Con­ser­va­tive Party to pass the 15 per­cent thresh­old to trig­ger the vote of con­fi­dence in the leader.

May was de­fi­ant at the news, say­ing she “stood ready to fin­ish the job” of Brexit and that “weeks spent tear­ing our­selves apart will only cre­ate more di­vi­sions”, and also warn­ing that any change of lead­er­ship would Wednes­day’s in­evitably chal­lenge lead to a post­pone­ment was trig­gered of when Bri­tain’s the de­par­ture in­flu­en­tial from 1922 the Com­mit­tee EU, cur­rently that sched­uled over­sees for party the rules end re­ceived of March the 2019. req­ui­site 48 let­ters from Con­ser­va­tive The day saw Party party MPs ten­sions call­ing played for a lead­er­ship out in an in­creas­ingly vote. pub­lic way, with one MP, An­drew Brid­gen, walk­ing out of a live BBC tele­vi­sion in­ter­view when a fel­low Con­ser­va­tive MP, James Clev­erly, was in­tro­duced.

When the vi­tal mo­ment came, how­ever, the feel­ing of re­sent­ment nec­es­sary to un­seat May was not present. Faced with a bal­lot pa­per con­tain­ing the sim­ple choice ‘I have con­fi­dence in Theresa May as leader of the Con­ser­va­tive party / I do not have con­fi­dence in Theresa May as leader of the Con­ser­va­tive party,’ MPs voted to stick with their leader, who took over the party in July 2016 fol­low­ing David Cameron’s res­ig­na­tion in the af­ter­math of the Brexit ref­er­en­dum.

By grim irony, at the same time as the vot­ing ses­sion at West­min­ster be­gan, across Lon­don at Con­ser­va­tive Party head of­fice, the Christ­mas party The was party tak­ing has 315 place. MPs and May needed De­spite the May sup­port hav­ing of at sur­vived least 158 the to hang vote, onto her trou­bles her job. are by no means at If an she end. sur­vived She still Wednes­day needs to night’s se­cure vote, par­lia­men­tary party rules back­ing would for pre­vent her Brexit the mav­er­ick pro­pos­als, MPs which want­ing have to un­seat proved her so from mount­ing an­other chal­lenge for un­palat­able at least a year. to many mem­bers of the The party, BBC’s and po­lit­i­cal hav­ing seen edi­tor, the Laura ex­tent Kuenss­berg, of hos­til­ity that said she the vote, faces no from mat­ter her the own out­come, side, the was op­po­si­tion likely to slow Labour down Brexit Party de­lib­er­a­tions. could still align them­selves with Owen other Pater­son, par­ties one in­clud­ing of the Con­ser­va­tive the Scot­tish MPs Na­tional who sub­mit­ted Party and a call let­ter a to vote trig­ger of no the con­fi­dence lead­er­ship in chal­lenge, the govern­ment, told the BBC: po­ten­tially “She is trig­ger­ing sadly de­ter­mined a gen­eral to elec­tion. stick to And her that deal even­tu­ally which is not might go­ing prove to to get be through the end the of the House line of for Com­mons, May in­stead. and worse, if it did get through In that the sce­nario, House of who­ever Com­mons, be­came she would the new lose head the of sup­port govern­ment of the – DUP, and which in­deed trig­gers for which­ever a gen­eral party elec­tion.” – would find May them­selves has been tak­ing prime charge min­is­ter at a since time 2016, of po­lit­i­cal when she tur­moil took the un­par­al­leled reins in the in af­ter­math mod­ern of British the UK’s his­tory, ref­er­en­dum just weeks de­ci­sion away from to leave Bri­tain’s the EU. sched­uled de­par­ture If she lost from in Wednes­day the EU af­ter night’s more vote, than 40 she years would of mem­ber­ship. not be al­lowed to stand With in the the po­ten­tial lead­er­ship for even bat­tle greater that would eco­nomic fol­low and and po­lit­i­cal likely tur­bu­lence last six weeks. than has al­ready been seen, there would In the then hours be be­fore an in­creased the lead­er­ship like­li­hood vote, more that the than sched­uled 110 Tory MPs exit date had gone at the on end record of March say­ing 2019 they would would be sup­port de­layed May for more in the ne­go­ti­a­tions. chal­lenge.

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