While I in no way want to downplay the seriousness of Brexit and the very real impacts it could have on people’s lives — in addition to the impact that the referendum itself has already had on people’s lives — I must also be honest: it has been boring as shit. The process has been locked in tedious bureaucratic struggle for what feels like approximately 25,000 years, most of the time only being prevented from descending into farce because it is too-slow paced to be entertaining.
But there has been movement: Earlier this week, prime minister Theresa May was forced to delay the House of Commons vote on the Brexit deal worked out with the European Union when it became clear that she did not have the numbers from her own party for the vote to succeed. And now, in the wake of this humiliating self-own, May is facing a vote of no-confidence from her own party.
In a statement, May confirmed that Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the party’s 1922 committee (comprised of Tory backbenchers), had received the 48 letters required to trigger the no-confidence vote, meeting the necessary threshold of 15% of the Tories’ 315 MPs:
A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now will put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it.
A new leader would not be in place by the January 21 legal deadline, so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in parliament.
The new leader would not have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by March 29, so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it, and a leadership election would not change the fundamentals of the negotiation [or] all the parliamentary arithmetic.
A number of MPs have expressed their support for May, but others have very much not:
The Country needs a new leader, it is time for Mrs May to resign.— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) December 12, 2018
The confidence vote will take place early tomorrow morning Australia-time, with May requiring a majority vote from the 315 MPs to stay in power. If she succeeds, she will be safe from challenges for the next 12 months. If not, well… she’s outta there.