Theresa May doesn’t see today’s vote of no confidence as being about who will lead the Conservative party into the next election, her spokesman has just said. This is significant as it removes the possibility that the Prime Minister sees today’s result as being a mandate for her continuing as leader, when many Tory MPs do not want her to. This therefore makes it much easier for those MPs to support the Prime Minister this evening.
Speaking to journalists after Prime Minister’s Questions, her spokesman said: ‘She does not believe that this vote today is about who leads the party into the next election. It is about whether it is sensible to change leader now.’ He refused to say how long May would serve for, or whether she would give an assurance to her MPs tonight that she has a departure date.
As our list on Coffee House shows, there are now enough Tory MPs who have declared their support publicly to suggest that May will at least win tonight’s vote narrowly. Of course, some might do something rather different in the privacy of the secret ballot, but this squeeze message from Number 10 suggests that others may well join the numbers of those who say tonight that they have confidence in Theresa May as Prime Minister.