Tory MPs Trigger a Vote of No Confidence: Did May Spring a Trap on Them?


At least 48 Tory MPs (15% minimum) filed letters of no confidence in Theresa May. A Tory-only secret ballot is next.

The Guardian reports Brexit in Chaos as Tory MPs Trigger Vote of No Confidence in Theresa May.

Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, has received at least 48 letters from Conservative MPs calling for a vote of no confidence in May. Under party rules, a contest is triggered if 15% of Conservative MPs write to the chair of the committee of Tory backbenchers.

A ballot will be held on Wednesday evening between 6pm and 8pm, Brady said, with votes counted “immediately afterwards and an announcement will be made as soon as possible”.

The prime minister will now need the backing of at least 158 Tory MPs to see off the Brexiters’ challenge, and her position would then be safe for 12 months. However, the prime minister could decide to resign if votes against her were below the threshold to topple her, but significant enough in number.

The Financial Times reports May Vows to Fight Confidence vote “With Everything I Have Got”.

“Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division just as we should be pulling together to serve our country,” she said in a 8.45am press statement.

Meanwhile, It's entirely possible this is precisely what May wants. Here are some thoughts I penned Monday but did not publish in expectation of this announcement. First here are two key rules.

Leadership Challenge vs Opposition Vote of No Confidence

  • A leadership challenge can only come from the Tories and only they vote. If May was ousted, the Tories would get to elect a replacement. But such a challenge can only happen once a year.
  • The opposition party can trigger a motion of no confidence. Everyone votes. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was reluctant to call such a vote out of fear of strengthening May's hand if he lost.

The Tories may have fallen into a trap. These points will explain.

Potential Trap

  1. It was to May’s advantage to trigger a leadership challenge ASAP because it keeps her options open while closing the door for another year on a leadership challenge. A leadership challenge was coming. I am convinced May wanted it sooner rather than later. She got it.
  2. If May survives the challenge, by even one vote, Tories cannot hold another leadership confidence vote for a year, no matter what foolish thing she does.
  3. Corbyn had been hesitant to call for a parliament-wide motion of no confidence out of fear he loses. Instead, he clings to the notion May will be forced to resign.
  4. If May survives the Tory challenge, she would even be free to threaten to resign or call new elections unless the Tories back her preposterous deal.
  5. If we got to point four, the Tories would then either have to vote for her deal or risk elections. Labour is leading in the polls.
  6. May’s problem is the DUP. They may dump her triggering elections at any point.
  7. The DUP’s problem, if they do not do along with May, is the possibility a hard border.
  8. In the end, I think May is counting on points 7 and 5. But first she had to sucker a leadership challenge out of the Tories, which she just did.

Trap Sprung?

Parading around Europe looking like a fool may have been a setup. The same applies with promising a vote on the agreement and not delivering one.

It's possible this all happened with May not thinking about such a setup, but I doubt it.

Everything I've Got

May seems like a desperate badger trapped in a corner. "Everything I've got" may very well be the scenario I outlined above.

If it was a trap, it could of course backfire on May as early as Wednesday evening. But desperate people do desperate things.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (15)
No. 1-12
Murdo McSponge
Murdo McSponge

As a Brit, I am very proud of what's going on in Britain at the moment. It is one of the finest displays of what Democracy is all about! No riots, no police on the streets, no soldiers guarding road blocks, lots of heated debate by people of different opinions, but all within a framework of due process and carefully drawn rules and practises.

The arguments about Brexit are being worked out in a very British way that I think we should all be very comfortable with!! It's what British Democracy is all about; it's what our fathers and mothers fought for. I suspect, for all the sniping going on from outside the UK, that there is a sneaking admiration for the way in which we are addressing extremely difficult issues, head on!


Tories are incompetent as a party if they do not vote May out.

May's "negotiation" was more like surrender from the start with May promising to pay EU 39 billion before negotiations even started and then May created a huge problem out of the Northern Ireland - Ireland border when reality it is NOT a problem since if UK says they will keep it open NOBODY is going to come close it since Irish government would be voted out by Irish people if they closed it and Merkel or Macron or Juncker are not going to send EU troops to close the border.

Also immigration wise the Ireland -Northern Ireland can also stay open since Ireland is OUT of Schengen treaty like UK so both UK and Ireland check who comes to their countries and do not let in say a million migrants walking through Europe like Merkel did in Germany.

Then May used the Irish border "backstop" as a reason to agree to UK becoming a hostage to EU in May's incompetent Brexit deal with EU having final say on May's deal when UK can leave EU.

In essence May's deal would make UK hostage to EU with EU being able to blackmail anything it wanted from UK during the several year new negotiation round that would follow May's BrexNOT deal since EU has final say on whether UK can leave the May negotiated nightmare and on what terms the trade will happen and what concessions they demand.

May's deal would create huge uncertainty for years and when EU gave May the worst deal imaginable now when UK has a set date when it will leave EU the subsequent trade term deal would be even worse and EU would demand more concessions since EU would have final say when UK is allowed by EU to leave EU properly.

May also failed to start preparations for a NO deal Brexit and she failed to communicate that NO deal Brexit would be a WTO trade Brexit since if UK leaves EU with NO deal Brexit there is no more negotiation and no more uncertainty for years like under MAy's Brexit deal and companies know the trade will be on WTO terms and WTO trade works.

To get a good deal one always has to have options and be prepared to choose those options but May went into the negotiations with EU desperate to get a deal and when you go in desperate to get a deal you always get the worst deal possible. It shows May has not negotiated anything in her life on the business side since she failed miserably in the negotiations.

May failed miserable in the negotiations since she is NOT a strong leader using her collegues in the Tory Party and her government ministers to negotiate but instead used civil service people and Olly Robbins (who have no competence to negotiate just like May). Strong leaders use equals or even smarter people than than them, weak leaders use bureaucrats they can boss around. May also hid the horribleness of her deal instead of keping Tories informed every step of the way in negotiations.

Furthermore EU is not as important for trade now as in 1980's and 1990's since WTO rules have evolved and are quite efficient and actually UK's biggest trading partner is USA with which UK trades on WTO rules.

Another point is that Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium export much more to UK than UK exports to them so if there would be trade disruptions created by these countries they would be destroying their own economies and hurting their own companies massively.

IF there are trade disruptions created by EU then German industry will get rid of Merkel and she will be replaced by new CDU leader AKK and Macron is in no position to anger French industry and especially French farmers who export a lot to UK.

Also there will be no disruption in flights because many EU countries airlines make lots of money from flights to UK and also fly through UK airspace to USA so those countries airlines would be yelling at their own country's politicians to make a deal on flights with UK quickly.

Since EU exports much more to UK than UK exports to EU that means UK would be getting lots of extra money in a WTO Brexit scenario from tariffs they could use either to fund NHS better or lower business taxes for export companies.

France and Spain are very dependent on UK tourists so there would be no disruption there and they are also dependent on UK buyers of real estate for holiday homes to keep their real estate markets moving so France and Spain would not be stupid enough to destroy that in a NO deal Brexit. Also UK retirees living in EU countries are important for many countries in addition to France and Spain so they would not hurt their local economies.

The Northern Ireland - Ireland border can be kept open and individuals can be given a duty free, customs free and tariff free allowance of about 500 pounds on that border so no one needs to be bothered.

Since it makes no sense to pay EU anything in a NO deal Brexit the 39 billion saved that May promised would take care of the lost customs and even some smuggling for the next 50-100 years.

For customs UK can create a self customs system where importers take a few pics of the product they are bringing in to UK and send a list of the items and that is their customs and then there are some random inspections at the border and huge fines if there is a large difference between the self customs report and what is found when checking it.

Also large factories can have a few customs guys on site so parts can be driven straight to the factory and customs guy checks them in there.

For medium companies there can be some customs guys in large cities popping over for tea some times to check that the self customs report was accurate.

Uk can say for the EU citizens that you can stay and ask EU for same treatment to UK citizens in EU provided they are employed and collect no welfare. Romanian gypsies living on welfare in UK have to go home and same for all other EU citizens living on welfare in the UK.

UK can let existing students also stay in UK and same from EU for existing UK students in EU but in the future there should be NO free education shortcut to EU citizens in Scotland. Scotland has almost 10% students from EU studying free and it would be much better if Scotland concentrated educating it's own youth. SNP is blind to the education issue.

Tories need to get rid of May and choose another Tory to be the new Tory leader and new Prime minister and he/she needs to be a real Brexiteer and NOT another Remainer like May was during the Brexit vote and everyone needs to support the new leader and NO backstabbing during the leader contest (I am looking at YOU Gove) and NO backstabbing after but instead the new leader must create a TEAM of Brexiteers and the May way of handling things in secret with civil service bureaucrats must not ever be repeated.

The new leader needs to tell EU to shove their bullying and blakcmailing Brexit deal making UK an EU hostage where the sun don't shine and plan for a NO deal Brexit aka WTO trade Brexit as outlined above and tell Merkel and Macron to tell French voters and German voters why Merkel/Macron bullying of UK led to French/German taxpayers paying the 39 billion instead.

One month from the Brexit date Germany an France should come crawling and begging to make a good trade deal for their economies and UK will be the difficult one now since NO deal Brexit aka WTO trade Brexit is actually quite good but if France and Germany have something better to offer maybe UK will think about it.

Remember now UK has a date for Brexit and after that date UK will be FREE.

In May's incompetent and worst deal ever there would be years of additional negotiation and EU would have the final say IF and when UK can actually leave EU aka when the deal would be ten times worse than May's horrible, incompetent, shoddy and stupid deal.

Feel free to spread this writing where ever you want.

I love UK and want it to be free from the bureaucratic monster and club of bullies that the EU is!

Big thanks to all the brave Tory Brexiteers loudly saying May's deal is horrible and I hope all of Tories have the courage to choose UNITED Kingdom and choose a real Brexit with trade flowing on WTO terms and choose a known date of Brexit in a few months instead of supporting May and thereby supporting her incompetent Brexit deal which would cause years of uncertainty and political pain and give UK's destiny in EU's hands with EU having absolutely no motivation to give UK anything at all if May's BrexNOT plan would be agreed to since EU would decide and EU would benefit under May's incompetent Brexit deal that is more aptly called BrexNOT.

Speacial thanks to DUP for having the wisdom to question May's incompetent insistence that the backstop is needed and groweling in front of EU is needed to keep Northern Ireland -Ireland border open. Nobody will come close that border if UK decides to keep it open and keep United Kingdom UNITED.


No, it is not a setup. May was not selected PM just to do Brexit. She was Home Secretary before PM, which means there are a lot of Tory back-benchers who know and support her regardless of Brexit (which many of them are opposed to). Others cut deals with her for party or parliament positions. They will tell her privately when it's time to go and she will resign.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock


"As a Brit, I am very proud of what's going on in Britain at the moment. It is one of the finest displays of what Democracy is all about! No riots, no police on the streets, no soldiers guarding road blocks, lots of heated debate by people of different opinions, but all within a framework of due process and carefully drawn rules and practices."

I find that well stated. But who's sniping? There's at least as much going on in the UK as elsewhere. Look at Corbyn! But I believe as the Brexiters do that this is a poor deal. I have seen and even commented on the eloquent speaking by some MPs. You do not see that in the US.


Do icebergs spring traps on unsuspecting ships?



I cannot understand how the Tories could possibly give May a vote of confidence at this point. It just makes no sense to support a PM who has negotiated a deal that cannot possibly pass parliament, and who has no chance of improving the deal. She has no way forward. If her party has any sense she will lose this vote.


The voting result will be revealed in about 30 minutes.

There is good minute by minute coverage of the whole day at Guardian:


May just won the vote...


Here are the results.

For May: 200

Against May: 117


Incredible that 200 Tory Mp's are so daft as to want May, who has shown herself to be completely incompetent negotiator, to continue negotiating with EU while EU says there will be NO chances to the dreadful Brexit deal May negotiated.

Sign of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result...


So what is the plan now--she keeps working to get Parliament to pass her Brexit bill with no changes? This is madness...

Christian dk
Christian dk

Good bye empire, no matter what happens. The banking city of London will be drained off by big money and the rich and a trade war with the Eu will erupt, i.e NO german cars, french wine and cheap polish labour, pushing Europe back into recession and a DEFAULT of the L:M:B:A.

Even Soro,s must see the arbitrage in going long gold/silver and shorting the £.gbp Ha HA the British pound sterling `= the fraud of the century. ( 1 British pound Sterling was originally 1 pound of sterling silver at 90 % purity, that being 14 troy ounces of silver.) 14 x 14 $ = 196 us$. So IS paper real money ?. Take it like a man, the Empire is over, do the hard Brexit and go back to the good old days.

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