So it happened. The number of letters submitted to the 1922 Committee from Tory MPs reached 50 – two more than the 48 required to trigger a vote of confidence. And so, Theresa May today met with Rebel MPs to discuss her future and their concerns. This should be the beginning of a confidence vote in the House of Commons, but amazingly, it looks like the Rebels have chickened out.
We learned a couple of days ago that Number 10 planted decoy letters to the 1922 Committee, which would have alerted the Prime Minister to an incoming threat. The theory is that when Sir Graham, the chair of the 1922 Committee, receives the required 48 letters, he would go back to those who submitted the letters and ask them to confirm they have not changed their mind. When the decoy MPs receive this notice from Sir Graham, they can inform the Prime Minister that they are close to reaching the required amount of letters and action can be taken.
The Evening Standard received the news that as many as eight letters from MPs loyal to the Prime Minister had been submitted, meaning that over the last few days it was possible we weren’t as close to achieving the 48 we needed after all. But today changed everything.
We reached 50 letters. That meant Theresa May had to face the 1922 Committee earlier today to answer for herself and hear from Members of Parliament who are unhappy with her leadership and direction.
I wish I had better news to report, but it appears that those who submitted the letters have lost their backbone. Not only are we being betrayed by Tory Remainers, but it seems that Tory Brexiteers have lost their backbones too. Theresa May has survived the 1922 Committee meeting.
Every single Member of Parliament in that meeting agreed with the Prime Minister that they need to remain united, and she needs to stay in her position.
Jessica Elgot of The Guardian tweeted:
One MP leaves declaring "outbreak of unity... not a single dissenting voice" at the 1922. Is she safe? "Well, you look over the cliff, consider the alternative, and then think, hmmmm, perhaps not."
The reports in the press sound like the meeting ended with a very happy bunch of MPs with new-found confidence in the Prime Minister. Tory MP for Torridge and West Devon, Geoffrey Cox, claimed the Prime Minister’s speech was “very good.”
Sky News reporter Alan McGuinness tweeted:
“Very happy. All good” smiles one MP as they stride out of the committee room.
McGuinness also claimed that former Home Secretary Amber Rudd even claimed that the Prime Minister is in a “stronger position” than before the meeting, and that she “spoke emotionally and personally.” MPs in turn reassured her that they will condemn any further violent language about her.
But that’s not what this is about, and it never has been. This was supposed to be the crunch meeting that resulted in an ousting. Those 50 people signed those letters to say they were unhappy with May’s leadership – but somehow, the Prime Minister has walked out having gained sympathy points, and the backing of Rebel MPs who have shown they have absolutely no backbone.
I’m sorry to say, but it looks like Mrs. May is sticking this one out. I briefly had some faith in Rebel Tories. Now I’m back to being my usual cynical self. There is literally nobody in Parliament that can be trusted. Not one.
We are being betrayed not just by the Remainers, but by the Tories who claim to be standing up for Brexit. What a scam