Theresa May wins confidence vote but rebels lay down marker

Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured) survived a vote of confidence in her leadership on Wednesday but more than a third of lawmakers voted against her, underscoring the challenge she faces in getting her Brexit divorce deal through parliament.

Here is some reaction to her survival:

Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg:

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“It is a terrible result for the prime minister. It really is.

“The prime minister must realize that under all constitutional norms she ought to go and see the Queen urgently and resign.

Mark Francois, a Conservative lawmaker who called for May to resign:

“Something has changed - what has changed is that a third of her MPs have said they don’t want her to be leader.

“We will continue to fight for what we believe in.

“I wouldn’t call 117 votes a busted flush.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader:

“The prime minister has lost her majority in Parliament, her government is in chaos and she is unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country and puts jobs and the economy first.

“That’s why she pulled the vote on her botched Brexit deal this week and is trying to avoid bringing it back to parliament. It’s clear that she has not been able to negotiate the necessary changes in Europe.”

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister:

“We now have a lame-duck Prime Minister and are saddled with a lame-duck Brexit deal”

Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD):

“We are approaching the biggest economic change this country has faced in a generation, companies and their employees deserve to have their political leaders focused 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.” 

Richard Buxton, chief executive and head of UK equities at Merian Global Investors:

“She is so ‘on the ropes’ that I cannot really see winning the confidence vote at this juncture helping very much; in 24 hours, in all probability, this will be little more than old news, and will do little, if anything, to change the EU’s negotiation tactics.

“It may enable her to delay a vote on the deal in Parliament until February, allowing her to capitalize on fears of a no-deal exit from the EU to such an extent that sufficient rebels may fall into line. In the meantime, she needs to secure from the EU a concession on the Irish backstop. If she does, I believe we can expect a significant number of the rebels to bow to her wishes.”

Neil Shearing, chief economist of Capital Economics consultancy:

“The reality is that the number of ballots cast against her was significantly larger than they would have hoped for and deals a blow to any hope that she might be able to use the vote as a springboard to get her Brexit deal through parliament.

“This will go down to the wire and tonight’s vote leaves PM May in an even weaker position before.”

Damian Hinds, education minister:

“We are in the middle of a very difficult negotiation to get the right Brexit. The PM has been doing an incredible job on that with amazing determination and now, with a very clear margin of the parliamentary party behind her, we need to get on and finalise that.

“We all do need to get behind the prime minister. There has been a vote and it is a very clear vote, a very clear margin.”

Damian Green, a Conservative lawmaker and May’s former deputy prime minister

“She should now get back to the job, which she wants to do.

“I think no-deal is now less likely than it was before this vote and I think it is extremely good for this country because I think no-deal would be disastrous.

“Will this silence the Brexit hardliners? I hope so, I think a lot of this debate has been about accepting the result of a democratic vote. So I hope those who voted against the prime minister will accept the result of this democratic vote and accept that this is a decisive vote and that therefore she should now be allowed to get on with the day job.”

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Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa MayBrexit