Theresa May wins confidence vote but Tory party remains deeply divided

blow to Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Theresa May has secured her immediate future as prime minister after winning a vote of confidence among Tory MPs.

Mrs May was given the thumbs up a day after the 48-letter threshold was reached to hold a vote over her leadership.

The prime minister won by 200 votes to 117 – a majority of 83.

She is immune from another leadership challenge for 12 months and can now focus on somehow changing the parliamentary arithmetic in order to get her Brexit withdrawal agreement through a Commons vote.

Addressing the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers in an impassioned speech before they voted, Mrs May said she was determined to deliver Brexit.

In an apparent concession to Tory MPs who do not support her, she revealed her intention to stand down before the next general election.

She recognised a lot of people were “uncomfortable” about her leading the Conservatives into another election.

However, she did not set a date for when she would step down.

Her advisers and some ministers reportedly cried as she announced the effective endpoint of her leadership.

Mrs May also took the opportunity to express her annoyance at Chancellor Philip Hammond calling European Research Group MPs “extremists”.

One cabinet minister told Sky News she was “very professional, very clear and also very passionate” during her speech.

Tory MPs were heard cheering and bashing the tables inside committee room 14 as she finished her speech and they then voted.

In the queue to vote, Environment Secretary Michael Gove was heard clearly saying: “I am going to be voting for the prime minister.”

Former Brexit secretary David Davis refused to say which way he had voted, as did International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, both who are tipped as a future Tory leader.

Speaking about the confidence vote Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “This vote was a chaotic detour that needs to be put to good use. Politicians must finally stop the endless infighting of the past 30 months and come together to secure a workable Brexit deal. Companies and the country have had enough of chaos.

“Uncertainty is throttling firms and threatening jobs – not in the future but right now.

“Firms are desperate for clarity and need to know for certain a no deal Brexit will not happen. Until they do, damage to investment, jobs and future growth will continue.

“This must mark a turning point, a chance to restore confidence in politics and our economy. Businesses across the UK will be counting on politicians to seize it, and despair if they do not.”

Responding further to the result Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “In all the twists and turns of Brexit, this may prove to be the most pointless and the most short-lived. We are approaching the biggest economic change this country has faced in a generation, companies and their employees deserve to have their political leaders focussed on what really matters: allowing people to work and conduct business with the least disruption possible. The attention now must be on avoiding no deal and then negotiating our future relationship with the EU.”