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Theresa May to Stay PM after Winning Confidence Vote

British Prime Minister Theresa May at the EU summit in Brussels, June 23, 2017. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)

British prime minister Theresa May won a confidence vote Wednesday after some in her party tried to unseat her over her handling of Brexit.

200 Tory MPs voted to save May while 117 voted to dismiss her from her post. The vote had been triggered when at least 48 of the party’s MPs requested it.

Conservative back-bencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has led hard-line Brexit supporters in parliament, called the 83-vote majority a “terrible result” for May and said she should resign immediately.

“Of course I accept this result, but the prime minister must realize that under constitutional norms, she ought to go and see the Queen urgently and resign,” he said. “Constitutionally, if a prime minister cannot get their business through the House of Commons — and on Monday the prime minister stood up and said she was going to lose so heavily that she wasn’t even going to present the vote — and then discovers that the overwhelming majority of her party backbenchers and her non-paid backers have voted against her, she clearly doesn’t have the confidence of the House of Commons. She should make way for somebody who does.”

Conservatives’ displeasure with May stems from what many of them consider her shoddy handling of Britain’s exit from the European Union. May postponed a vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement yesterday when it became clear she didn’t have the votes to pass it, leaving the way forward unclear as the March 29, 2019 deadline for leaving the EU approaches.

After the confidence vote, May acknowledged that a “significant number of colleagues did cast a vote against me,” but said, “We need to get on with the job of delivering a Brexit that delivers on the vote.”

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