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Theresa May confidence vote: MPs cast their ballots after PM tells them she won't fight next ele

Tory MPs have started voting in the “confidence” ballot in Theresa May after she told them she will not lead the party into the next general election.

They lined up to enter Committee Room 14 in Parliament to cast their votes in the secret ballot.

First in the queue was Digital Minister Margot James who said: “I’m first in the queue giving my support 100 per cent (to the Prime Minister).”

The MPs were let into the room shortly after 6pm for the vote which is due to last up until 8pm.

At least one whip was watching as the MPs prepared to go in.

Earlier, Mrs May had addressed the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs where she made clear she would not be the Tory contender in the next General Election planned for 2022.

Afterwards, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd told reporters: “She’s made the commitment that I think is what people wanted, but she was very clear that she won’t be taking the general election in 2022.”

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said Mrs May had delivered a “strong Prime Ministerial performance.”

Mrs May also told MPs at the meeting on Wednesday night that she would not call an early election or cancel the Brexit vote on her deal. Mrs May sought to reassure her colleagues over the divisive Brexit Irish border issue saying there was a legally binding solution coming.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland told reporters: "She said 'In my heart I would like to lead the party into the next election' and then that was the introductory phrase to her indication that she would accept the fact that that would not happen, that is not her intention."

As MPs left the 1922 meeting, many remained tight-lipped, with dozens expected to vote to oust Mrs May shortly afterwards.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove predicted she would win the vote “handsomely”.

But Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was not persuaded to vote for the Prime Minister in the ballot. He said: "It was the same old stuff. Nothing has changed."

However, if there is a sizeable revolt Mrs May could still struggle to carry on beyond the short-term.

Read more from Evening Standard

My view: If Theresa should lose the vote, then she'll be the second female Prime Minister booted out of office by members of her own party. Mrs Thatcher faced a similar situation when she was forced to fight a leadership challenge from Tory rebel Michael Heseltine, but she failed to win an outright majority, Mrs Thatcher resigned two days later after more than eleven years as Prime Minister. I don't get why the Tory men in grey suits can't stand woman as their leader?, it's baffling.

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