May promises to listen after holding on in confidence vote…

“A wounded Theresa May limped home from a vote of no confidence yesterday after more than a third of Tory MPs rejected her leadership. The prime minister was forced to give up on leading the party into the next election to get over the line. Out of 317 Tory MPs, 117 voted against her, leaving a winning majority of 83. The margin was far less than No 10 had hoped for and will fail to heal the party’s splits over Brexit. Mrs May said after the vote that it was time for her party to “come together in the national interest”. She acknowledged at Downing Street that a significant number of her MPs had voted against her, saying: “I have listened to what they said.”… Mrs May had promised Tory MPs at a private meeting that she would not seek to contest the next election. She also pledged to restore relations with the Tories’ parliamentary allies, the Democratic Unionist Party, and said that she was seeking legally binding reassurances to the Irish backstop.” – The Times

  • Mercer criticises ministers plotting to replace the Prime Minister – The Sun
  • ‘A Pyrrhic victory’: how the British and European media reacted – Daily Telegraph
  • Briefing battle begins over interpreting the vote – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Stalemate

…and pledges to leave before the next election…

“Theresa May promised her party she would quit as Tory leader before the next election in a desperate ten-minute plea to save her job an hour before MPs decided her fate. “In my heart I would love to lead us into the next election but I know that you want a different leader, with new objectives,” she told a packed meeting of the 1922 Committee. As she had outside Downing Street more than eight hours before, the prime minister spoke about her long-standing commitment to the Conservative Party and stressed her desire to rebuild the fractured relationship with the Democratic Unionist Party, her parliamentary allies. Her most important message, according to the party’s deputy chairman, James Cleverly, was that now was “a very, very bad time to replace the prime minister”. In the only sign of jangling nerves, she opened her address by wishing the MPs a “good morning”. Mrs May spoke for about ten minutes but the hostile questioning from Conservative MPs lasted much longer.” – The Times

  • The last-minute concessions that helped get her over the line – The Guardian


  • An extraordinary 24 hours in Westminster –  Daily Mail
  • 24-hour fight for survival ends in disappointment… and more questions – Daily Telegraph
  • Worrying parallels with Thatcher in the 1990s – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Westminster sketch: A carnival in which even the Prime Minister’s inhibitions start to break down

…but Brussels is already set to reject her promised solution to the backstop…

The European Union is poised to reject Theresa May’s demands for “legally binding assurances” that the Irish backstop will only ever be temporary, senior EU diplomats have told The Telegraph. The EU rejection will come as another serious blow to the Prime Minister who was pinning her hopes of a legally-binding side-agreement with the EU to help convince her back-benchers to accept her Brexit deal. EU ambassadors met in Brussels on to discuss how to respond to Mrs May’s pitch to leaders at Thursday’s summit dinner, where she will be given 10 minutes to outline what she needs to get the deal over the line in Westminster. “Politically she can have all the warm words she wants, but it was very clear in the meeting that there is very little appetite indeed for anything legally binding,” said a senior EU diplomatic source. The rebuttal came as Mrs May promised the backbench 1922 Committee that something legally binding on the backstop would be forthcoming.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Fox warns that Cabinet won’t back her deal without changes – The Sun
  • Brussels may offer backstop ‘assurances’ to help secure deal – The Times
  • EU chiefs give May just ten minutes – Daily Express


  • Prime Minister looks to Europe to ease row – FT
  • May limps to Brussels after ‘crippling’ vote – The Sun
  • Victory will prompt relief but not concessions – The Guardian
  • Irish opposition rules out election over Brexit chaos – FT

>Today: Jonathan Clark in Comment: Brexit has reopened two constitutional conflicts which must be resolved

…as Foster ‘hints’ at support for Javid

“DUP boss Arlene Foster has hinted she could back Sajid Javid to be the next Tory leader and Prime Minister. The leader of the Northern Irish party has been meeting with the potential leadership candidates to discuss their bids to become the next PM. She said today the Home Secretary “understands” the party’s concerns about the Northern Ireland backstop. But she refused to openly back him for the top job, saying “I think there are many who not only understand but support our position”. Her comments come as Mrs May faces a crunch vote of no confidence tonight – and she could be out of office by Christmas if she loses. The DUP, who are currently propping up Theresa May’s government with their 10 MPs, could prove crucial again in a future election. And whoever the Northern Irish party back will have a good chance of winning a leadership vote. The PM currently relies on the support of the party to ensure she has a working Government. They’ve said they will support her for now, but if she continues with her hated Brexit plans then they will pull her support.” – The Sun

  • Home Secretary is ‘grassroots favourite’ to replace May – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister ‘lacks the charm’ to win back the DUP – The Times


  • Who will replace May when her time is up? – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Crocodiles are circling and she’s running out of buns – Rachel Sylvester, The Times


  • May must take their concerns seriously to survive – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our snap survey. Almost two-thirds of Party members want the Prime Minister out now. Over a third back her.

European Research Group ‘lost control’ of effort to oust her

“While she spent the weekend at Chequers mulling over what to do, her opponents were equally undecided. Brexiteer MPs said that had Mrs May pushed ahead with Monday’s Brexit vote and lost it, that would have been the right time to strike. By pulling the vote, she had bought herself more time. By now, though, the ERG had lost control. The number of letters rose and fell seemingly at random. Some of those who had publicly declared they had put in letters had not. Egos jostled for position as high-profile Brexiteers such as Mr Johnson and Mr Raab, potential beneficiaries of a move to oust the prime minister, kept their distance and left others to do the dirty work. After reports that another four letters had been submitted, Mr Baker was telling colleagues it was “total bollocks”. Except on this occasion it was true. No one seemed more surprised than the MPs that had been calling for it. After prime minister’s questions yesterday, Brexiteers were furious at the silence of would-be leadership candidates. A glum Mr Johnson sat with his arms crossed. Mr Davis was conspicuous by his absence, as was Mr Raab.” – The Times

  • The day Tory MPs turned on their leader – FT
  • Duncan Smith voted against May ‘with a heavy heart’ – Daily Mail


  • Brexiteers hunker down for ‘trench warfare’ – The Times
  • Plot may lead to break-up of the Tory Party – The Sun


  • Rebels must face up to their failure – Daily Mail

>Today: Video: WATCH: North Korean ovation from Conservative MPs as Brady announces that May has won


Row as suspended MPs have whip restored ahead of crunch vote

Two Tory MPs stripped of the party whip over sex pest allegations were reinstated yesterday just hours before the no confidence vote, prompting outrage from women’s rights campaigners. Andrew Griffiths, the Burton MP suspended after bombarding two young women with lewd text messages, and Charlie Elphicke, the MP for Dover suspended for alleged sexual offences involving two female members of his staff, had the whip restored yesterday afternoon. Their votes – Griffiths backed Theresa May and Elphicke is understood to have supported the motion of no confidence – cancelled each other out but the decision to reinstate them was criticised as an insult and a betrayal… The restoration of the whip to them increased the number of Tory MPs to 317, which meant Mrs May required 159 votes – half of the parliamentary party plus one – to secure her position.” – Daily Telegraph

Daniel Finkelstein: Result buys May time, but little else

“So did any of that change anything? Before yesterday’s vote one minister was exultant at what he believed was a tactical error by the Brexit hardliners. “It’s the turning point,” he said. But after last night’s result this looks rather optimistic. Almost every problem Theresa May had yesterday she still has today. She still has to win support for the withdrawal agreement despite overwhelming opposition. She still has to pass a bill to ratify the agreement. And she still has to keep her government in office despite the threat that the Democratic Unionist Party will withdraw its support if the deal is agreed. To this can be added the problem caused by such a large number of Tory MPs openly declaring that they do not have confidence in her. Enough to question her victory. One advantage, however, she has now gained. And it is significant. She cannot be challenged again for a year. This has soft and hard benefits.” – The Times

  • Pyrrhic victory puts Britain on course for catastrophe – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Exasperating Prime Minister is running on empty – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • May clings on, but nothing has changed for her – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • Be in no doubt, her deal is dead – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • The party and the country are left in limbo by this result – Mark Wallace, The i
  • A lame duck, too weak to take back control of her party – Martin Kettle, The Guardian


>Yesterday: ToryDiary: May’s policy leads inexorably to No Brexit or No Deal. If Tory MPs fear either, they should take a chance on change today.

Hinds tells universities to admit more white working-class kids

“Universities must recruit more white working-class students or face sanctions, the Education Secretary warned yesterday. Damian Hinds said vice chancellors were not doing enough to admit disadvantaged groups – often those in poor white regional towns. He said there was no reason why children in places such as Sunderland or Somerset should have less of a chance of gaining a degree. Official figures show that disadvantaged white pupils are the least likely group to attend university, particularly at leading institutions… He said he wanted to see material progress in closing the access gap in the next few years, with failure leading to action by the Office for Students. The regulator can impose sanctions such as fines or, as a last resort, deregistration, which would effectively mean closure. Mr Hinds also wants to see universities doing more to support black students during their studies, as they are more likely to drop out after their first year than any other group.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Ulster unionists want a Brexit deal. Just not this one – Owen Polley, CapX
  • Macron’s troubles put Brexit into perspective – Walter Ellis, Reaction
  • The Sajid Javid manifesto – James Forsyth and Fraser Nelson, The Spectator
  • The EU is humiliating the UK as May is left to beg for help in Brussels – Austin Mitchell, Brexit Central
  • The dark side of rural England – James Bloodworth, UnHerd