November 15, 2018
PM hanging on to power by a thread after Dominic Raab and Esther McVey quit Cabinet.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May’s leadership, labelling her draft Brexit Deal “worse than anticipated”.
The prime minister has seen a slew of resignations from her government – including two Cabinet ministers – as her own party turned on her plan.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey have both quit in protest over her withdrawal deal.
Tory MPs have also been making public their letters of no confidence in May’s leadership.
Supporters of the PM, meanwhile, dismissed Baker and Rees-Mogg for “showboating”.
The prime minister has insisted her deal was in the national interest and offered a future relationship with “a breadth and depth of co-operation beyond anything the EU has agreed with any other country”.
Speaking outside parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Rees-Mogg insisted his attempt to oust May as leader was not a “coup”.
But he listed Boris Johnson, David Davis, Raab, McVey and Penny Mordaunt as potential candidates to take over as PM.
Rees-Mogg said he expected a new leader could be installed in Downing Street in a matter of “weeks” not months.
Earlier today he told May to her face in the Commons that he could not support her Brexit deal.
Former Brexit Minister Steve Baker has also called for a new leader. “We’ve tried everything to change policy but not the Prime Minister but it has not worked. It is too late. We need a new leader,” he said.
The pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs, led by Rees-Mogg and Baker, gathered in Parliament on Thursday afternoon. A loud banging of tables could be heard as the meeting began.
Two more junior ministers – Suella Braverman at the Brexit Department and Shailesh Vara at Northern Ireland – also quit along with two parliamentary aides.
Under the Conservative Party rules, to trigger a no confidence vote 15% of MPs must write to the current chair of the party’s governing 1922 committee, Graham Brady.
There are 316 Conservative MPs in parliament, so it would take 48 letters to do the job.
Should the prime minister contest the no confidence vote, the vote would go to all Tory MPs and May would need the support of at least half - 159 - to stay in power.
During a marathon three-hour grilling in the Commons, the prime minister refused to quit. Asked if she should now step aside, she told MPs simply: “No.”
May’s 585-page Brexit deal will provide the basis of a legally binding treaty for the UK’s exit from the European Union. It covers the future rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, the UK’s £39 billion “divorce” settlement, as well as protocols on Gibraltar and the UK sovereign base areas in Cyprus.
It also provides for a transition period after the UK leaves in March 2019 running to the end of 2020, with the option of a one-off extension if more time is needed to conclude an agreement on the future relationship.
Crucially it also covers the so-called “backstop” intended to ensure there is no return to the hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic if negotiations on the future relationship have still not been completed.
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