Theresa May’s vote of no confidence survival: what the papers said

Ella Wills
Evening Standard
Theresa May gives a statement outside No10 after surviving a confidence vote in her leadership: EPA
Theresa May gives a statement outside No10 after surviving a confidence vote in her leadership: EPA

Theresa May has emerged triumphant from a confidence vote by Tory MPs following a dramatic day in Westminster.

The embattled Prime Minister won by 200 votes to 117 in a secret ballot, seeing off Conservative party rebels who launched a coup in a bid to remove her from leadership.

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It followed outcry over Mrs May's move to postpone the so-called "meaningful vote" on her controversial Brexit deal.

But the PM's Brexit plan, the future of the party and Mrs May's position within it remain a subject of fierce discussion and debate among the nationals.

Here's what the papers said after Mrs May's victory on Wednesday:

The Times runs with the headline "May scrapes home" after the vote went 200 votes for Mrs May and 117 against, but added that her critics "remained unbowed".

Inside the paper, Conservative peer Lord Finkelstein questions whether the hectic day has actually changed anything.

He writes: "Almost every problem Theresa May had yesterday she still has today. She still has to win support for the withdrawal agreement despite overwhelming opposition.

Sir Graham Brady (centre), chairman of the 1922 Committee, announces that Theresa May has survived (PA)
Sir Graham Brady (centre), chairman of the 1922 Committee, announces that Theresa May has survived (PA)

"She still has to pass a bill to ratify the agreement. And she still has to keep her government in office despite the threat that the Democratic Unionist Party will withdraw its support if the deal is agreed."

He adds Mrs May should focus on making sure her deal is the only thing left on the table and concludes: "Meanwhile we are 24 hours closer to leaving the EU, without being any wiser about how."

The Daily Telegraph contains a front-page column from Mrs May's former chief of staff Nick Timothy in which he says her deal is "as dead as a dodo", while Mansfield MP Ben Bradley said the country needed a prime minister who "had not just determination, but who is pointing that determination in the right direction".

The PM's former chief of staff Nick Timothy said Mrs May's deal is 'as dead as a dodo' (PA)
The PM's former chief of staff Nick Timothy said Mrs May's deal is 'as dead as a dodo' (PA)

Mr Bradley, who resigned as vice chair of the party over the Chequers Agreement, adds: "I have never doubted Theresa May's steel and determination, but I do doubt her understanding of what the Brexit vote means.

"You cannot seek to deliver on a vote for change if all you aim to do is replicate the status quo.

Ben Bradley: The Tory MP 'doubts Mrs May' (PA)
Ben Bradley: The Tory MP 'doubts Mrs May' (PA)

"Yes, we want a relationship with Europe, but it has to be a different one... I honestly don't think it's complicated, but this Government has made it complicated."

The Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire says Mrs May "lives to die another day", saying it was the "hollowest of victories", while the Daily Mail and Daily Express both urge the party to let Mrs May get on with her job.

Peter Oborne in the Daily Mailcalls the rebels "silly fools" who have "blown themselves up", writing: "Mrs May is not the greatest prime minister in British history, not by a long shot.

"But she's incredibly fortunate in her opponents - both on the Opposition benches and in her own party.

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has demanded that Theresa May resign (PA)
Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has demanded that Theresa May resign (PA)

"But she now looks stateswomanlike indeed thanks to the half-baked challenge launched by colleagues such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg."

The Sun's leader column attempts to sum up the problems facing Mrs May, saying she is caught "between the devil and the DUP".

It says "much of Britain is in disarray" - pointing to rail services, police, hospitals and the military as problem areas - but warns: "Every single Tory needs to remember one thing: if you don't get your act together, we'll end up with Corbyn."

The Irish Examiner writes Mrs May is "not going anywhere... for now" pointing out the "struggle to sell the Brexit deal remains".

In continental Europe, Mrs May also makes the fronts with Le Soir in Belgium running the headline "May saved, her Brexit still under threat" and De Standaard refers to the vote result as a "pyrrhic victory" for the Conservative leader.

Politiken in Denmark talks of "drama" in Mrs May's future, while Het Belang Van Limburg, a Dutch regional paper in Belgium, says "Survival artist May does it again".

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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