A vote of confidence in May’s leadership will take place this evening. Brady confirms the ballot as Downing Street seeks to bounce Conservative MPs. Cabinet Ministers take to Twitter in “shock and awe” offensive.

“Theresa May is facing a dramatic vote of confidence in her leadership on Wednesday evening, after Eurosceptic MPs launched a coup against the prime minister to try to seize control of the final stages of Brexit. Tory rebels have secured the 48 names needed to trigger a confidence vote and Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, has announced it will take place between 6pm-10pm on Wednesday. Mrs May is expected to fight for her job, but support has been draining away from the prime minister since Monday when she abandoned a planned vote in the House of Commons on her Brexit plan. If Mrs May fails to secure 158 votes – a majority of Tory MPs – she will be forced to stand down and a full Tory leadership contest would take place. Ministers loyal to the prime minister were dismayed at the prospect of a leadership challenged on Tuesday night. “If this happened it would be an act of irresponsibility, foolishness and national vandalism,” said one minister. Another minister said: “I’m certain she would fight.”” – FT

  • Prime Minister ignored plan for ‘put up or shut up’ vote to silence her critics – The Times
  • Daily Mail’s about-turn on Brexit offers May a glimmer of hope – FT
  • Will the Prime Minister be ousted today? Latest odds – Daily Express



Paterson becomes first ‘big beast’ to write to Brady demanding a contest

Owen Paterson’s letter of no confidence could prove to be the tip of the iceberg for previously loyal Brexiteers who are feeling increasingly betrayed by Theresa May. Until now, the more experienced “big beasts” in the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs had resisted sending letters to Sir Graham Brady, arguing that the Prime Minister still held the key to unlocking Brexit. But with a growing awareness that no deal might be the best deal on offer to leavers seeking a clean break from the EU – Mrs May’s last ditch renegotiation is no longer being seen as the solution to Brexit but its biggest obstacle. As one well-placed insider told the Telegraph: “The hardcore leavers just want to leave without a deal. They don’t want a bad deal with a diluted backstop. The real danger now is that she comes back from Brussels with some tweak that might get it over the line. The withdrawal agreement has become a threat that must be destroyed.” Combine this with the trust lost by the Prime Minister for delaying Tuesday’s meaningful vote and it appears a perfect storm is brewing on the Tory backbenches.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Democracy depends on the Government commanding the confidence of the Commons – Sir Bernard Jenkin, The Times
  • May must end this Carry On farce and go – Jacob Rees-Mogg, The Sun
  • I know how painful rebellion can be, but we need a leader with vision – Crispin Blunt, Daily Telegraph

>Today: MPs Etc.: Rolling list of MPs who have submitted letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister

EU leaders snub May as last-ditch EU tour hits the buffers

European Union leaders have insisted there will be no renegotiation of the Irish border backstop, snubbing Theresa May as she embarked on her whistlestop tour of EU capitals in a bid to seek fresh Brexit concessions. Angela Merkel told the Prime Minister at their Berlin meeting there was “no way” the Withdrawal Agreement would be reopened. Rubbing salt in the wounds, the German Chancellor told Mrs May that any Brexit negotiations had to be handled through the European Commission and not through bilateral talks with national governments. The snub came as the European Commission, France and other EU nations prepared to step up their no-deal Brexit emergency planning to heap yet more pressure on MPs in Westminster to accept the hated agreement. After Mrs May pulled today’s ‘meaningful vote’ in the Commons, the race is now on to secure concessions from Europe that might convince opponents of the deal to change their minds, particularly on the question of the Irish backstop. It has emerged that Mrs May, who was briefly locked in her car as she met Mrs Merkel, had warned EU leaders she was thinking of cancelling the vote on Sunday, before telling her Cabinet on Monday.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Queue to tell the Prime Minister the deal is not open to discussion – The Times
  • ‘Window dressing’ offer rejected by Downing Street – The Sun
  • May eyes Dutch-Danish solution to Brexit conundrum – FT
  • EU pressures Prime Minister to adopt softer Brexit in exchange for assurances – The Sun
  • Hague warns that Brussels sees second referendum as more likely than no deal – Daily Express


  • Cabinet to push for more no-deal preparations – The Times
  • Whitehall steps up hiring for a disorderly exit – FT
  • Major tells May to revoke Article 50 or face chaos – The Times
  • Study finds ‘significant decrease’ in diehard Leavers – The Guardian
  • Morgan’s committee blasts ‘optimistic’ Brexit predictions – The Times


  • The EU will not risk its own integrity to save May’s deal – Clement Leroy, The Times
  • Polls show attitudes hardening against compromise – Lord Ashcroft, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Charlie Elphicke in Comment: The Cabinet must decide today to trigger no deal preparations in full


Johnson and Javid ‘set out leadership stalls’

“Sajid Javid has touted his commitment to social mobility and Boris Johnson has compared his weight loss to the Brexit preparations as contenders to succeed Theresa May prepare their pitches for the top job. The home secretary and the former foreign secretary have used The Spectator to set out their views on Brexit and their party’s future, a decision which will doubtless be interpreted as preparation for a leadership contest. Mr Javid, seen in Westminster as the favourite among ministers to succeed Mrs May, told the magazine that the Conservative Party stood, in a word, for opportunity. He said: “The much bigger picture is social mobility. That’s what I want the party to be seen as: promoting how politicians – or the right politicians – can make a real difference to you as an individual in your life… He said that in his previous role as communities secretary, he had planned to build more houses but was vetoed by Downing Street. “I think that is still an area where we can be much more radical and open up more opportunities,” he said.” – The Times

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