Theresa May confidence vote: vote of no confidence result - why did she resign as UK Prime Minister after win?

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Theresa May withstood a confidence vote, so why did she resign - and could Boris Johnson do the same?

After being gravely wounded by a revolt against his leadership, Boris Johnson will use a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to prove "we are going to get on with the job."

On Monday (6 June) night, the Prime Minister survived a confidence vote, but 148 of his own MPs said they doubted his capacity to lead the party.

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Conservative MPs voted 211 to 148 in favour of Johnson, although the magnitude of his opposition was larger than in 2018, when then-PM Theresa May faced a confidence vote.

Johnson claims the vote allows him to draw a line under the question of his leadership despite 41% of his MPs having no confidence in him.

So does the win for Johnson really allow the party to move on from Partygate, and put the matter of his divisive leadership to rest?

Here is everything you need to know.

Is ‘a win a win’?

Even though Johnson does win the vote, since a large number of MPs voted against him, his leadership could still be jeopardised.

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Even though Johnson has won the vote, history shows that his position may still not be safe: recent prime ministers who "won" confidence votes have lost in the long run.

Margaret Thatcher resigned eight days after winning such a vote, Theresa May resigned six months later, and John Major was defeated in a landslide by Tony Blair in the general election.

Boris Johnson, according to former Conservative leader William Hague, has faced "a greater level of rejection" than any of his predecessors and should resign as prime minister.

“While Johnson has survived the night, the damage done to his premiership is severe,” Lord Hague wrote in The Times.

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“Words have been said that cannot be retracted, reports published that cannot be erased, and votes have been cast that show a greater level of rejection than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived.

Johnson's authority could be further weakened by thorny by-elections in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Tiverton and Honiton, Devon, on 23 June.

And Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee and another Tory MP who has called for Johnson to quit, suggested the Prime Minister would only survive for “a matter of months”.

He told Sky News there was now “a lot of work to be done: a reshuffle is now required – bring in fresh talent, and actually start to focus on the big issues, make the Cabinet construct actually work”.

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Why did Theresa May resign?

Conservative MPs voted 211 to 148 in favour of Johnson, although the magnitude of his opposition was larger than in 2018, when then-PM Theresa May faced a similar confidence vote.

May came under fire from within the Conservative Party in December 2018 for the way she was handling Brexit, and a confidence vote was held after 15% of her MPs expressed dissatisfaction with her leadership.

As part of a speech to the Conservative Party before the vote was opened, May said she would step down as PM after delivering Brexit, and would not lead the party into the next General Election, in exchange for Conservative MPs voting to have confidence in her leadership.

May came out on top in the vote, with 63% percent of MPs voting in her favour, effectively ruling out another vote for at least another year.

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However, the outcome did not alleviate the public’s concerns about her leadership, and on 24 May 2019 she confirmed that she would resign as Conservative Party leader on 7 June.

May said she was unable to deliver Brexit, and that "it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort."

She officially remained Prime Minister until 24 July, when she submitted her resignation to the Queen, at which point Johnson, who was elected by the Conservative Party membership, became Prime Minister.

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