A willful Theresa May promised to fight any challenge to her leadership after she experienced a series of ministerial resignations and calls for her to quit.
On yet another day of high drama in Westminster, Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, stepped down from his position in protest of the draft exit deal of PM May with Brussels. It was soon followed by the resignation of Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary.
Five more junior ministers and ministerial aides also resigned. It added to the sense that the government was on the brink of a collapse.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading Brexiter, went public with his calls for May to step down, and attempted to trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.
However, just before 5.30 in the afternoon today, May informed reporters that she was going nowhere as she started a strong defence of her much-criticised Brexit deal.
While reflecting on the resignations during a press conference that was held in Downing Street, May stated: “I am sorry that they have chosen to leave the government and I thank them for their service.”
She added: “I believe with every fibre of my being that the course I have set out is the right one for our country.”
The rules of the Conservative party dictate that a vote of confidence in the party leader is carried out when 15 percent of MPs, 48 in this case, send a letter that is urging for a ballot to the chair of the backbench 1922 committee.
Rees-Mogg announced that he had submitted his letter following a meeting of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tories that was held yesterday afternoon.
He denied the suggestions that he was leading a “coup” against the Prime Minister. He added: “What we need is a leader who will say to the European Union it is impossible to divide up the United Kingdom, it’s impossible to agree to a situation where we have a perpetual customs union, it’s impossible to pay £39billion of taxpayers’ money for a few promises which was meant to be £39billion for implementation of a deal.”
Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, revealed that he too had put in a letter, as had Simon Clarke, a Tory MP.
Not all members of the ERG supported the ousting of May, with Sir Desmond Swayne, a Tory veteran, confirming that he had not put a letter in.