Raab, McVey, Vara, Braverman, Trevelyan, Jayawardena… It’s been a remarkable procession of resignations this morning as tensions within the Conservative Party have erupted over Brexit and Prime Minister’s proposed deal. The surreal nature of the morning is best encapsulated by the resignation of the Brexit Secretary himself (Dominic Raab) over the proposed Brexit deal. There could yet be further resignations throughout the day.
Adding fuel to the fire, Jacob Rees Mogg, chair of the European Research Group – a staunchly Eurosceptic group of Conservative MPs, has announced he has submitted a letter of ‘no confidence’ in the PM to the 1922 Committee, providing cover for other MPs angry at May’s proposed deal to do likewise.
What does this all mean? Should Graham Brady (chair of the 1922 Committee) receive 48 letters from MPs, this will trigger a no confidence vote in the PM by the parliamentary party. To survive, the PM requires support from a simple majority of Conservative MPs. There is every chance that Brady will receive 48 letters of ‘no confidence’ – anger at the deal among Brexiteers is palpable. Whether enough MPs across the parliamentary party as a whole would then vote against the PM is far more questionable.
Adding to the intrigue, should May survive a confidence vote, a further ballot cannot be held for 12 months. This would create a conundrum for opponents of May who risk being left with a PM they don’t want in charge for a further year – hardly a situation either the PM or her opponents would be content with.
For her part, May’s office have indicated that she would fight any confidence vote and, of course, she may yet get a deal passed. However, it is currently looking increasingly difficult to find a majority in Parliament in favour of the deal.