May vote of no confidence: Gove, Hunt and Javid WILL support PM

Cabinet ministers including Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid as well as David Cameron have rushed to back the Prime Minister who has the support of 109 MPs so far today.

May loyalists insisted the Tory leader is the ‘best person for the job’ within minutes of the announcement that she faces a vote of no confidence tonight.

Mrs May needs 158 votes – a majority of half the Tory MPs in Parliament plus one – to win the vote and will also get a 12-month immunity from any new challenge  

But Brexiteers are determined to force her out and rebel Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted today: ‘The Country needs a new leader, it is time for Mrs May to resign’.

The PM will be thrown out of office by fellow Tory MPs if she loses the secret ballot between 6pm and 8pm, sparking a new leadership election Home Secretary Mr Javid today called ‘self-indulgent and wrong’. 

He added: ‘The last thing our country needs right now is a Conservative Party leadership election. PM has my full support and is best person to ensure we leave EU on 29 March’. 

Former Prime Minister, who has stayed quiet over the current political turmoil, tweeted: ‘I hope Conservative MPs will back the PM in the vote today. We need no distractions from seeking the best outcome with our neighbours, friends and partners in the EU’. 

The Tory MPs, who are among the favourites to replace Mrs May, have stayed loyal to the Tory leader

The Tory MPs, who are among the favourites to replace Mrs May, have stayed loyal to the Tory leader

The Tory MPs, who are among the favourites to replace Mrs May, have stayed loyal to the Tory leader

Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has handed in his letter of no confidence and says it is time for Mrs May to go

Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has handed in his letter of no confidence and says it is time for Mrs May to go

Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has handed in his letter of no confidence and says it is time for Mrs May to go

Brexiteers believe Mrs May should resign over her handling of negotiations with the EU with Dominic Raab and Boris Johnson among the favourites to replace her if she loses. 

But Jeremy Hunt, who replaced Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary in July, said today: ‘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. 

He added: ‘Brexit was never going to be easy but she is the best person to make sure we actually leave the EU on March 29’.

Environment Secertary Michael Gove said: ‘I am backing the Prime Minister 100% – and I urge every Conservative MP to do the same’.

Brandon Lewis, James Brokenshire and Amber Rudd also backed the PM on Twitter ahead of the vote between 6pm and 8pm this evening.

158 Tory MPs need to vote against the Prime Minister to bring her down with Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid favourites to replace her if she loses. 

Tonight’s vote was announced at 7.37am this morning with Chairman of the Conservative Party Brandon Lewis taking five minutes to speak out and back Mrs May.

He said: ‘I fully back our Prime Minister. We have the right Leader of our Party, we have a duty to deliver for our country & I hope all my colleagues will join me & support @theresa_may to deliver for UK’.

Mrs May came out fighting and said a leadership election would delay or even stop Brexit

Mrs May came out fighting and said a leadership election would delay or even stop Brexit

Mrs May came out fighting and said a leadership election would delay or even stop Brexit

Ministers want he to stay - but her handling of Brexit has led to Brexiteers demanding that she goes

Ministers want he to stay - but her handling of Brexit has led to Brexiteers demanding that she goes

Ministers want he to stay – but her handling of Brexit has led to Brexiteers demanding that she goes

THE 100-PLUS TORY MPs BACKING THERESA MAY AHEAD OF CONFIDENCE VOTE

Michelle Donelan

Antoinette Sandbach

Rebecca Pow

David Warburton

Jo Churchill

George Freeman

Dr Phillip Lee

John Glen

Julian Smith

Kit Malthouse

Oliver Letwin

Gavin Williamson

John Howell

Sarah Newton

Stephen Crabb

Rory Stewart

Robert Buckland

Mel Stride

Matt Hancock

Robin Walker

Damian Hinds

Victoria Prentis

Jesse Norman

Sam Gyimah

Jonathan Djanogly

Geoffrey Cox

Tobias Ellwood

Nigel Huddleston

Simon Hoare

Adam Afriyie

Richard Harrington

James Heappey

Marcus Jones

Huw Merriman

Helen Grant

Jeremy Lefroy

Robert Halfon

Vicky Ford

Heidi Allen

Kevin Hollinrake

Jake Berry

Liz Truss

Chris Skidmore 

Julian Knight

Craig Whittaker

Nick Hurd

Steve Brine

Luke Hall

Bim Afolami

Mary Robinson

Dame Caroline Spelman

Andrea Leadsom

Alan Mak

Michael Ellis

Alok Sharma

Alistair Burt

Nick Boles

Margot James

Justin Tomlinson

David Lidington

Andrew Stephenson

Dr Liam Fox

Bob Neill

Sarah Wollaston

Sir Alan Duncan

David Mundell

Harriett Baldwin

Steve Barclay

Mark Lancaster  

Stuart Andrew 

John Penrose 

James Cartlidge 

Michael Gove

Rachel Maclean

Alec Shelbrooke 

Alun Cairns

Mark Spencer

Greg Clark

Penny Mordaunt 

Philip Hammond

Paul Scully

David Gauke

Patrick McLoughlin

Mims Davies 

Alex Chalk

Maria Miller

Amber Rudd

Stephen Hammond

Sajid Javid

James Cleverly

Nick Gibb

Nadhim Zahawi

James Brokenshire

Jeremy Hunt

Therese Coffey

Brandon Lewis

Ed Vaizey

Tom Tugendhat

Andrew Bowie

Guy Opperman

Nicholas Soames

Andrew Jones

Alberto Costa

Wendy Morton

David Morris

Oliver Heald 

Chris Heaton-Harris 

Housing Minister James Brokenshire wrote: ‘Strongly support @theresa_may to continue as Leader of @Conservatives and Prime Minister. Now is not the time for this distraction and even more uncertainty. We need to get behind the Prime Minister in the best interests of our country’.

How can Theresa May be ousted as Tory leader?

A Tory leadership contest can be called in one of two ways – if the leader resigns or if MPs force and win a vote of no confidence in them.

It is not the same as a vote of confidence in the government – which happens on the floor of the Commons and involves all MPs. 

Calling votes of no confidence is the responsibility of the chairman of the 1922 Committee, which includes all backbench Conservative MPs.

Chairman Graham Brady is obliged to call a vote if 15 per cent of Tory MPs write to him calling for one – currently 48 MPs. 

The process is secret and only Sir Graham knows how many letters he has received.

Once triggered, the ballot can be organised very quickly.

The no-confidence vote is purely on whether the leader should stay in place or not, rather than a contest.

Crucially, if the incumbent receives more votes in support than opposed they cannot be challenged for 12 months.

The procedure was last used in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was removed as Tory leader.

If the leader is ousted, they typically remain as Prime Minister until a successor is appointed and ready to be confirmed by the Queen.

Any MP – apart from the ousted leader – is eligible to stand in the subsequent contest.

Conservative MPs hold a series of ballots to whittle the list of contenders down to two, with the lowest placed candidate dropping out in each round.

The final two candidates are then offered to the Tory membership at large for an election. 

Some activists have called for changes so it is easier for contenders to reach the final stage.

They have suggested that the membership should get to choose between any candidates who get support from at least 20 other MPs.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd tweeted: ‘The PM has my full support. At this critical time we need to support and work with the PM to deliver on leaving the EU, & our domestic agenda – ambitious for improvements to people’s lives & to build on growth of wages & jobs’.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: ‘I will support the Prime Minister @theresa-may tonight. This is a totally inappropriate time to have a contest. The country expects us to provide stability not damaging division.’

Transport Secretary and prominent Brexiteer Chris Grayling said: ‘I will be backing Theresa May tonight. At this crucial point, the last thing the country needs is a prolonged and introspective leadership contest.

‘I was one of the first Cabinet ministers to back Brexit. Delivering a deal was never going to be simple.

‘Theresa May is the best person to make sure we actually leave the EU and deliver on the Brexit that I and the people of our great country voted for.’ 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I’m voting for the Prime Minister tonight and urge all colleagues to do the same. We should all be focussed on coming together for the sake of the future of the country’.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay tweeted: ‘I fully support the PM. This is a crucial stage with weeks to go before we leave the EU. We need to back @theresa-may and deliver the referendum result. The PM is working in our national interest and this distraction risks damaging uncertainty.’

Alun Cairns, the Welsh Secretary, and David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, both offered their backing for the Prime Minister on Twitter.

‘I am giving my full support to @theresa-may who has always put the national interest first. We need to honour the outcome of the referendum and support the PM to deliver Brexit on 29 March 2019,’ Mr Cairns said.

David Mundell added: ‘PM has my full support. A leadership contest is the last thing we need. The public want us to sort £Brexit now!’

House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom tweeted: ‘Vital to support @theresa-may today. She is working hard in the interest of the U.K. to get a good Brexit deal and she has my full support.’

Mrs May’s enemies are circling to replace her as her Brexit plans appeared to be in ruins.

In a joint statement the chairman of the European Research Group Jacob Rees-Mogg and his deputy Steve Baker said: ‘Theresa May’s plan would bring down the Government if carried forward. But our party will rightly not tolerate it.

‘Conservatives must now answer whether they wish to draw ever closer to an election under Mrs May’s leadership. In the national interest, she must go.’  

Tory former minister Ed Vaizey said he would support the Prime Minister in the vote, but Sir Bernard Jenkin told Today he would vote for a change in leadership.

Sir Bernard said he had submitted a letter of no confidence earlier this week with ‘great regret’. 

Ministers say for the 'sake of the country' Mrs May should stay in office and not be deposed

Ministers say for the 'sake of the country' Mrs May should stay in office and not be deposed

Ministers say for the ‘sake of the country’ Mrs May should stay in office and not be deposed

Who has sent letters of no confidence in May?

Letters of no confidence in Theresa May are confidential – but some of her strongest critics have gone public.

If 48 letters are sent a vote is called.

This is who has definitely sent a letter: 

  1. Jacob Rees-Mogg, North East Somerset, Jacob.reesmogg.mp@parliament.uk 
  2. Steve Baker, Wycombe,  steve.baker.mp@parliament.uk 
  3. Sheryll Murray, South East Cornwall, sheryll.murray.mp@parliament.uk
  4. Anne-Marie Morris, Newton Abbott, annemarie.morris.mp@parliament.uk
  5. Lee Rowley, North East Derbyshire,  lee.rowley.mp@parliament.uk
  6. Henry Smith, Crawley, henry.smith.mp@parliament.uk
  7. Simon Clarke, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland,  simon.clarke.mp@parliament.uk
  8. Peter Bone, Wellingborough,  bonep@parliament.uk
  9. James Duddridge, Rochford and Southend East,  james@jamesduddridge.com
  10. Philip Davies, Shipley,  daviesp@parliament.uk
  11. Andrea Jenkyns, Morley and Outwood,  andrea.jenkyns.mp@parliament.uk
  12. Andrew Bridgen, North West Leicestershire, andrew.bridgen.mp@parliament.uk
  13. Nadine Dorries, Mid Bedfordshire,  dorriesn@parliament.uk 
  14. Laurence Robertson, Tewkesbury, robertsonl@parliament.uk 
  15. Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes,  martin.vickers.mp@parliament.uk
  16. Ben Bradley, Mansfield,  ben.bradley.mp@parliament.uk
  17. Adam Holloway, Gravesham,  hollowaya@parliament.uk
  18. John Whittingdale, Maldon,  john.whittingdale.mp@parliament.uk
  19. Maria Caulfield, Lewes,  maria.caulfield.mp@parliament.uk
  20. Mark Francois, Rayleigh and Wickford,  mark.francois.mp@parliament.uk
  21. David Jones, Clwyd West, david.jones@parliament.uk
  22. Marcus Fysh, Yeovil,  marcus.fysh.mp@parliament.uk
  23. Chris Green,  Bolton West,  chris.green.mp@parliament.uk
  24. Zac Goldsmith, Richmond Park, zac@zacgoldsmith.com
  25. Bill Cash, Stone, cashw@parliament.uk
  26. Philip Hollobone, Kettering,  philip.hollobone.mp@parliament.uk
  27. Andrew Lewer, Northampton South, andrew.lewer.mp@parliament.uk
  28. Crispin Blunt, Reigate,  crispinbluntmp@parliament.uk 
  29. Owen Paterson, Shropshire Patersono@parliament.uk 

Mrs May  got little encouragement from EU leaders yesterday as she tried desperately to keep her Brexit deal alive.

With mutinous Eurosceptic MPs racheting up their campaign against her, the Prime Minister conducted a whistle-stop tour of European capitals to try to win last-minute concessions. 

But Dutch PM Mark Rutte, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council president Donald Tusk all warned there was no prospect of reopening negotiations on the 585-page Brexit deal.

One EU diplomat even likened attempts to salvage the deal to ‘putting make-up on a dead body to make it look pretty’.

German sources said Mrs Merkel told her party there was ‘no way’ to change the Brexit deal, following talks with Mrs May, although No 10 insisted she was ready to help ‘get the deal over the line’.

Talks were focused on the controversial Irish ‘backstop’, which critics fear could leave the UK trapped in an EU customs union indefinitely after Brexit. Mrs May said the backstop, which is designed to prevent the need for a hard border on the island of Ireland if trade talks falter, was a ‘necessary guarantee, which would form part of any Brexit deal.

But she added: ‘We don’t want the backstop to be used and if it is we want to be certain it is only temporary and it’s those assurances I will be seeking from fellow leaders over the coming days.’

Downing Street was tight-lipped about Mrs May’s exact demands on a tour that started with breakfast with Mr Rutte, ahead of a lunch in Berlin with Mrs Merkel and evening talks with Mr Tusk and Mr Juncker in Brussels.

But Tory sources said the plans include asking the EU to define ‘temporary’ as lasting for as little as three years.

Who could replace Theresa May? As Brexiteers move against the Prime Minister because of her deal ‘betrayal’ these are some of the leading contenders to take over

Theresa May faces a vote of no confidence this evening after her Brexit deal was rejected by Eurosceptics.

If she loses, the Tory Party will launch a leadership contest to replace her – a process that will likely take weeks, with just months until Brexit Day. These are some of the leading contenders to replace her:

Dominic Raab – 9/2

How did they vote on Brexit?

Leave, with a second tier role campaigning for Vote Leave.

What is their view now?

Mr Raab was installed as Brexit Secretary to deliver the Chequers plan but sensationally resigned last month saying the deal was not good enough.

What are their chances?

His resignation from the Cabinet put rocket boosters under Mr Raab’s chances, fuelling his popularity among the hardline Brexiteers. May struggle to overcome bigger beasts and better known figures. 

Newly installed as Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab (pictured on Tuesday) is trying to negotiate Theresa May's Brexit deal

Newly installed as Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab (pictured on Tuesday) is trying to negotiate Theresa May's Brexit deal

Newly installed as Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab (pictured on Tuesday) is trying to negotiate Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Boris Johnson – 6/1

How did they vote on Brexit?

Led the Vote Leave campaign alongside Michael Gove.

What is their view now?

Hard line Brexiteer demanding a clean break from Brussels. The former foreign secretary is violently opposed to Theresa May’s Chequers plan and a leading voice demanding a Canada-style trade deal.

What are their chances?

Mr Johnson’s biggest challenge could be navigating the Tory leadership rules. 

He may be confident of winning a run-off among Tory members but must first be selected as one of the top two candidates by Conservative MPs. 

Rated as second favourite by the bookies, Boris Johnson's (pictured at Tory conference last month) biggest challenge will be navigating the Tory leadership rules

Rated as second favourite by the bookies, Boris Johnson's (pictured at Tory conference last month) biggest challenge will be navigating the Tory leadership rules

Rated as second favourite by the bookies, Boris Johnson’s (pictured at Tory conference last month) biggest challenge will be navigating the Tory leadership rules

Sajid Javid – 5/1

How did they vote on Brexit?

Remain but kept a low profile in the referendum.

What is their view now?

Pro delivering Brexit and sceptical of the soft Brexit options.

What are their chances?

Probably the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet after his dramatic promotion to Home Secretary. Mr Javid has set himself apart from Mrs May on a series of policies, notably immigration.

Sajid Javid (pictured in Downing Street) is probably the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet after his dramatic promotion to Home Secretary

Sajid Javid (pictured in Downing Street) is probably the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet after his dramatic promotion to Home Secretary

Sajid Javid (pictured in Downing Street) is probably the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet after his dramatic promotion to Home Secretary

Michael Gove – 6/1

How did they vote on Brexit?

Leave 

What is their view now? 

He has said Theresa May’s Chequers blueprint for Brexit is the ‘right one for now’. But he recently suggested a future prime minister could alter the UK-EU relationship if they desired.

What are their chances? 

He came third in the first round of voting in 2016, trailing behind ultimate winner Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom. Mr Gove has said it is ‘extremely unlikely’ that he would stand again. But he popular in the party and is seen as an ideas man and a reformer by many, and he could change his mind if Theresa May is shown the door.

Michael Gove appeared to rule himself out of the race in recent days, but he ran last time and is popular among many in the party

Michael Gove appeared to rule himself out of the race in recent days, but he ran last time and is popular among many in the party

Michael Gove appeared to rule himself out of the race in recent days, but he ran last time and is popular among many in the party

Jeremy Hunt – 7/1

How did they vote on Brexit?

Remain.

What is their view now?

The Foreign Secretary claims the EU Commission’s ‘arrogance’ has made him a Brexiteer.

What are their chances?

Another top contender inside Cabinet, Mr Hunt’s stock rose during his record-breaking stint at the Department of Health and won a major promotion to the Foreign Office after Mr Johnson’s resignation. Widely seen as a safe pair of hands which could be an advantage if the contest comes suddenly. 

Jeremy Hunt's stock rose during his record-breaking stint at the Department of Health and won a major promotion to the Foreign Office after Mr Johnson's resignation

Jeremy Hunt's stock rose during his record-breaking stint at the Department of Health and won a major promotion to the Foreign Office after Mr Johnson's resignation

Jeremy Hunt’s stock rose during his record-breaking stint at the Department of Health and won a major promotion to the Foreign Office after Mr Johnson’s resignation

David Davis – 9/1

How did they vote on Brexit?

Leave.

What is their view now?

Leave and a supporter of scrapping Mrs May’s plan and pursuing a Canada-style trade deal with the EU.

What are their chances?

The favoured choice of many hard Brexiteers. Seen as a safer pair of hands than Mr Johnson and across the detail of the current negotiation after two years as Brexit Secretary. He could be promoted a caretaker to see through Brexit before standing down.

Unlikely to be the choice of Remain supporters inside the Tory Party – and has been rejected by the Tory membership before, in the 2005 race against David Cameron. 

David Davis (pictured last month at a Brexiteer policy launch) is seen as a safer pair of hands than Mr Johnson and across the detail of the current negotiation after two years as Brexit Secretary

David Davis (pictured last month at a Brexiteer policy launch) is seen as a safer pair of hands than Mr Johnson and across the detail of the current negotiation after two years as Brexit Secretary

David Davis (pictured last month at a Brexiteer policy launch) is seen as a safer pair of hands than Mr Johnson and across the detail of the current negotiation after two years as Brexit Secretary

Amber Rudd -16/1

How did they vote on Brexit?

Remain. Represented Britain Stronger in Europe in the TV debates.

What is their view now?

Strongly remain and supportive of a second referendum – particularly given a choice between that and no deal.

What are their chances?

Popular among Conservative MPs as the voice of Cameron-style Toryism, Ms Rudd is still seen as a contender despite resigning amid the Windrush scandal – and she was boosted further by her return to Cabinet as Work and Pensions Secretary on Friday night. She is badly hampered by having a tiny majority in her Hastings constituency and would not be able to unite the Tory party in a sudden contest over the Brexit negotiation. 

Popular among Conservative MPs as the voice of Cameron-style Toryism, Amber Rudd (pictured at Tory conference last month) is still seen as a contender despite resigning amid the Windrush scandal

Popular among Conservative MPs as the voice of Cameron-style Toryism, Amber Rudd (pictured at Tory conference last month) is still seen as a contender despite resigning amid the Windrush scandal

Popular among Conservative MPs as the voice of Cameron-style Toryism, Amber Rudd (pictured at Tory conference last month) is still seen as a contender despite resigning amid the Windrush scandal

Penny Mordaunt – 16/1

How did they vote on Brexit?

Leave

What is their view now?

Leave and subject of persistent rumour she could be the next to quit Cabinet over Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

What are their chances?

Possible dark horse in the contest, Ms Mordaunt is not well known to the public but is seen as a contender in Westminster. Known to harbour deep concerns about Mrs May’s Brexit deal, but has stopped short of resigning from Cabinet. 

Possible dark horse in the contest, Penny Mordaunt (pictured in Downing Street) is not well known to the public but is seen as a contender in Westminster

Possible dark horse in the contest, Penny Mordaunt (pictured in Downing Street) is not well known to the public but is seen as a contender in Westminster

Possible dark horse in the contest, Penny Mordaunt (pictured in Downing Street) is not well known to the public but is seen as a contender in Westminster

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