London, United Kingdom – British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a vote of confidence triggered by MPs of her ruling Conservative Party.
200 of the Conservatives’ 317 MPs voted in support of May’s leadership during the secret ballot, held within the UK parliament’s lower chamber House of Commons on Wednesday evening.
Two members who were under party suspension for alleged misconduct prior to Wednesday were permitted to vote in the ballot.
Had a majority voted against her, May would have been forced to resign as party leader and would have been expected to stand down as prime minister.
Wednesday’s ballot was announced after a 15 percent threshold of Conservative MPs wrote to the party’s backbench parliamentary committee demanding a say on May’s leadership of the party.
No new vote of confidence can be brought forward for 12 months.
MP and Chair of the pro-Brexit parliamentary backbench European Research GroupJacob Rees Mogg described Wednesday’s result as “terrible” for the prime minister and called on her to resign.
The main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, said the vote “changes nothing”.
“Theresa May has lost her majority in Parliament, her Government is in chaos and she’s unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country and puts jobs and the economy first. She must now bring her botched deal back to Parliament next week,” he said in a Tweet.
On Monday, May pulled a parliamentary vote on her widely maligned Brexit deal with the EU, acknowledging it would have been defeated by members of the Commons.
Following the postponement she embarked on a whistle-stop tour of several European cities on Tuesday in a bid to seek “reassurances” from EU leaders over aspects of her proposed withdrawal deal.
In a statement following the confidence vote on Wednesday, May said she would head to Brussels on Thursday to seek “legal and political reassurances” over her Brexit deal.
The 62-year-old added that she hoped to win concessions from EU counterparts which would “assuage the concerns that members of parliament have” regarding the divorce deal, particularly over its so-called backstop proposal.
The “backstop” clause is a safety net provision which guarantees no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the event that post-Brexit trade negotiations between the UK and the EU prove unsuccessful.
It proposes that the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland, remain in a customs union with the EU “unless and until” the bloc agrees there is no prospect of a return to a hard border.