Connect with us

Featured

Change of leader now puts country and Brexit at risk, Theresa May warns

Published

on

Theresa May has vowed to fight on “with everything I’ve got” after 48 MPs submitted letters calling for a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party.

Standing outside 10 Downing Street, the prime minister insisted she is the best person to lead the party, and lead the UK out of the European Union.

Mrs May said: “I have been a member of the Conservative Party for over 30 years.

“I’ve served it as an activist, councillor, MP, shadow minister, home secretary and now as prime minster.

“I stood to be leader because I believe in the Conservative vision for a better future, a thriving economy, with nowhere and nobody left behind, a stronger society where everyone can make the most of their talents.”

Graham Brady, Chairman of the Conservative Party 1922 Committee, speaks to the media after announcing that the Conservative Party will hold a vote of no confidence in the prime minister
Image:
Sir Graham Brady has received at least 48 letters of no confidence

The prime minister warned that a challenge to her leadership only puts Brexit and the country at risk.

Mrs May’s statement came about an hour after it was confirmed the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, had received the 48 letters of no confidence from Tory MPs required to trigger a ballot on her leadership.

The vote will take place between 6pm and 8pm tonight, with the result announced soon afterwards.



Sir Graham Brady, Chair of the 1922 Committee talks about how the confidence vote would work.




1:12

Video:
1922 chair explains confidence vote mechanism

She warned: “A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now will put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it.

“A new leader wouldn’t be in place by the 21 January legal deadline, so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in Parliament.

“The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by 29 March, so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit, when people want us to get on with it.”



Theresa May addresses the media outside 10 Downing Street




3:53

Video:
Theresa May statement in full

She said a change in leadership would not change the fundamentals of the negotiation, and that “the only people whose interests would be served are Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell”.

Closing her defiant speech, the PM said: “I have devoted myself unsparingly to these tasks ever since I became prime minister, and I stand ready to finish the job.”

Mrs May needs to secure the votes of 158 MPs – half the parliamentary party plus one – to remain as Conservative leader, though a vote of 100 or more against her will raise questions about whether she can continue.

If she wins, another challenge cannot be mounted against her position as Tory leader for a year.








1:09

Video:
Leadership challenge against PM – what happens next?

As the news broke that there would be a challenge to her leadership, many MPs came out in support of the prime minister, with many saying this was not the time for a contest.

Environment secretary and leading Brexiteer Michael Gove tweeted: “I am backing the prime minister 100% – and I urge every Conservative MP to do the same. She is battling hard for our country and no one is better placed to ensure we deliver on the British people’s decision to leave the EU.”

Also publicly backing Mrs May is Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said: “I am backing Theresa May tonight. Being PM most difficult job imaginable right now and the last thing the country needs is a damaging and long leadership contest.”

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The last thing our country needs right now is a Conservative Party leadership election. Will be seen as self-indulgent and wrong. PM has my full support.”

Those calling for her to be ousted also made their voices heard.

“I can not see how the PM can limp on with 48 of her own back benches having no confidence in her,” said Tory MP James Duddridge.

“She may go directly following the vote due to losing or in the days after because she has lost authority and a majority to govern.”

:: The confidence ballot takes place between 6pm and 8pm tonight. Watch live on Sky News

Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending