Theresa May vows to carry on as Tory MPs turn on her over EU deal with letters of no confidence
Theresa May today said "I am going to see Brexit through" as she faced a leadership crisis over her EU divorce deal, Evening Standard reported.
The Prime Minister said she would continue to strive to secure a Brexit deal that the “British people voted for” after her future was thrown into doubt following a fierce backlash to the EU exit agreement.
It comes following high-profile resignations from her Cabinet and rumours that the number of no confidence letters sent to the party’s 1922 committee was nearing the 48 needed to trigger a leadership contest.
At a press conference on one of her most turbulent ever days as PM, she said: "This deal delivers what the people voted for and is in the national interest.
Theresa May seemed in good spirits as she took questions from the media at a press conference on Thursday night (AP)
“We can only secure it if we unite behind the agreement reached in Cabinet yesterday.”
She said if this did not happen, “nobody can be sure of the consequences will follow.”
The PM sips water during a press conference in Downing Street (AP)
“The British people just want us to get on with it,” she said.
Mrs May said that she believed that "with every fibre of her being", the course she had set out for Brexit was "the right one". She added that the Brexit negotiations are a "matter of the highest consequence", touching "almost every area of our national life."
Asked if she would contest a confidence vote and carry on as Prime Minister if she won by a single vote, Mrs May said: "Leadership is about taking the right decisions, not the easy ones.
Defiant: Theresa May said she was "going to see Brexit through" despite a challenge to her leadership (REUTERS)
"As Prime Minister my job is to bring back a deal that delivers on the vote of the British people, that does that by ending free movement, all the things I raised in my statement, ending free movement, ensuring we are not sending vast annual sums to the EU any longer, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, but also protects jobs and protects people's livelihoods, protects our security, protects the Union of the United Kingdom.
Jacob Rees-Mogg denies treachery after declaring no confidence in PM
"I believe this is a deal which does deliver that, which is in the national interest and am I going to see this through? Yes."
Mrs May likened her determination to stick to her course to her cricketing hero - former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott.
"What do you know about Geoffrey Boycott? Geoffrey Boycott stuck to it and he got the runs in the end," she said.
She had opened her speech by saying: "Serving in high office is an honour and privilege.It is also a heavy responsibility - that is true at any time but especially when the stakes are so high."
Asked if Michael Gove was poised to become her next Brexit secretary, she praised his work as Environment Secretary but said she had not yet appointed a new minister to lead the Department for Exiting the EU. Sources said cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt was due meet the PM tonight.
She was visibly agonising over whether to resign as she made an appearance for questions in the house earlier.
The threshold of 48 letters required to trigger a confidence vote draws close.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the influential eurosceptic, earlier asked Mrs May to her face why he should not send one - and later confirmed he was doing so.
He went on to say that what had been achieved was "not Brexit."
Former Brexit Secretary Mr Raab, the man the prime minister appointed to reassure Brexiteers, quit his post saying he could not “in good conscience” endorse a deal that broke promises to voters.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey also resigned, along with Brexit Minister Suella Braverman, Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara and ministerial aides Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Ranil Jayawardena.
Mrs May had earlier made a dignified statement in the Commons promoting her withdrawal agreement.
She told MPs: “The choice is clear. We can choose to leave with no deal. We can risk no Brexit at all. Or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated: This deal.”
Mr Rees-Mogg, the leader of the European Research Group (ERG), then gathered his troops in Committee Room 10 in the Palace of Westminster.
News emerged that he would indeed send a letter demanding a vote of no confidence in Mrs May, something he had hinted at in an exchange with the prime minister in the Commons chamber an hour earlier.
But not all members of the ERG agreed - Sir Edward Leigh departed from the meeting saying there was a "genuine difference of opinion" about whether to support the prime minister's position.
He said he would not be submitting a letter to the powerful backbench 1922 Committee calling for a no confidence vote.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson remained tight-lipped, refusing to answer questions about whether he would be writing his own letter.
Via Evening Standard
My view: Wow, some Conservative MPs are just showing their true-self, they are all pretending that they're against the Prime Ministers Brexit deal, but the fact is , they just want her job, some politicians are very selfish, the Tory rebels wants the key to number 10 Downing Street, even if Theresa May gets the best Brexit deal, they'll still complain.