Monday

6th Apr 2020

Theresa May wins first round of Tory votes

  • Theresa May wants to secure reciprocity between the rights of EU workers in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU (Photo: Uk Home Office)

British home affairs secretary Theresa May won the most votes in an internal Conservative Party ballot to choose the next PM held on Tuesday (5 July).

May won the support of 165 MPs, followed by Andrea Leadsom, a junior energy minister, on 66, and justice secretary Michael Gove, who was a prominent campaigner to leave the EU, on 48.

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Former defence minister Liam Fox, who got the fewest votes, 16, was eliminated from the race and backed May. Pensions minister Stephen Crabb, who placed fourth with 34 votes, pulled out and also backed May.

Tory MPs will keep voting until there are only two-candidates left, then it will be up to the rank and file party members to choose the next UK leader, who will have to navigate the country through exit talks with the EU.

Thursday will see the second round of voting among MPs. The final victor will be announced on 9 September.

Before the vote, pro-Remain May came under fire for a TV interview in which she said the UK might eject EU migrants if EU countries do not allow British people to live and work on their home territories.

Her main rival, Andrea Leadsom said: “We must give them [EU workers] certainty. There’s no way they will be bargaining chips in our negotiation.”

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister said May’s stance on EU nationals living in the UK was “disgraceful” and “disgusting”. Even the pro-Brexit politician Nigel Farage criticised May.

May's team clarified her remarks on Tuesday, saying: "Her position is that we will guarantee the legal status of EU nationals in Britain as long as British nationals living in EU countries have their status guaranteed too."

However, this still suggested conditionality between EU national's rights in the UK, and UK citizens living in the EU.

Economic woes

The first round of Tory voting was overshadowed by the flight of property investors from Britain and the pound hitting a three-decades low.

In a sign of the serious economic consequences of Brexit, the pound hit a new 31-year low, now down more than 12 percent since the referendum on 23 June.

Three funds investing in British property also said they were suspending trading because too many people were rushing to liquidate their assets.

The Bank of England tried to calm nerves on Tuesday, but cited commercial real estate as one of the risks sectors in the British economy.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney also said capital requirements for banks had been relaxed to free up money for loans for homes and businesses.

"The bank can be expected to take whatever action is needed to promote monetary and financial stability, and as a consequence, support the real economy," Carney said.

Before the EU ballot, Leave campaigners dismissed economic concerns of the Remain camp as scaremongering and labelled their from economic projections "Project Fear". They said that Britain would prosper once it became "independent" and free to negotiate its own trade deals.

Analysis

The week of the Tory long knives

Since last week’s fateful Brexit vote, Westminster has turned into Game of Thrones meets House of Cards.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The battle for Maggie Thatcher’s handbag

The next UK prime minister will be a woman. That, at least, is clear. Not much else is in the race between Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom for the Tory leadership.

EU capitals woo British business after Brexit

French prime minister Manuel Valls outlined an offer to British expats and businesses. Dublin and Luxembourg also joined the race, as the British pound fell to a record low.

Theresa May will be next British PM

The current home secretary will be confirmed as leader of the Conservative Party after the withdrawal of Andrea Leadsom, the only other contender. The handover from David Cameron should happen shortly.

What Brussels can expect from Theresa May

The UK's next prime minister is a familiar face in Brussels, and known as a tough negotiator. EU leaders expect her to lay out Britain's plans for an exit by October.

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