(CNS): A vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership of the Conservative Party was defeated Wednesday, allowing the beleaguered British leader to hang on to her job in the face of continuing chaos in UK politics circulating around the country’s attempts to leave the European Union. However, although her leadership cannot be challenged again for another year from within the party, there is still uncertainty as to how much longer she will remain as the prime minister. The vote may have, for the moment, quieted some of her backbench Brexiteer critics over the controversial deal but it is unlikely to last, since 117 of her own Conservative MPs voted for her to go against 200 who backed her leadership.
The internal Tory party vote in their leader was triggered late Tuesday night when Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the back-bench 1922 Committee, called the PM to tell her he had received 48 letters from Conservative MPs, which is the number (15%) needed to call a no confidence vote in the party leadership. The letters had come largely from Brexit supporting back-bench MPs who do not like May’s proposed exit deal because they feel it would still leave the UK entangled in Europe.
While she has survived this vote, May was forced on Tuesday to cancel the parliamentary vote on Brexit, knowing it would not pass, but subsequent indications that the European Union is not prepared to change it means she remains in political trouble.
During her efforts Tuesday to keep her government together, which does not have a majority in the House of Commons and depends on the support of a handful of unionist MPs from Northern Ireland, she revealed that she would step down before the next election. But the turmoil in British politics as a result of Brexit has escalated over the last few weeks and the possibility of the current government falling remains.
Following the vote, Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has just returned from the UK following constitutional talks and the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council meetings in London, offered his congratulations.
“I wish her and her government every success with the difficult ongoing Brexit negotiations,” he said. “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank her again for meeting with me earlier this year in London to discuss matters surrounding the Cayman Islands constitutional arrangement with the UK and providing her support for a review of the constitution.”
The Cayman government may also be breathing a shy of relief in the hope that the failed no confidence vote will avert the likelihood of an imminent general election in the UK, which, if called in the near future, would likely see the Labour party prevail.
The local government and the offshore sector here would be unlikely to welcome such an outcome as there are widespread concerns that the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, would take further and more threatening steps over and above the existing demand from the UK that the overseas territories implement beneficial ownership registers, which some fear would undermine the local financial industry.