Prime Minister Theresa May survived a Conservative leadership challenge winning 63 percent of votes, 200 votes to 117, on Tuesday. She pledged to get on with EU negotiations “delivering the Brexit people voted for” but promised to quit as Prime Minister before the 2022 general election. Despite her tough talk, the Prime Minister was undermined by EU leaders in Brussels on Friday who said the Brexit deal was “not open for renegotiation”. And following weeks of dissent by Tory rebels, Mrs May remains vulnerable to attack.
So will she go – and what will Brexiteers do now?
Mrs May could be here for just a short time or as long as a year depending on the current options on the table, according to one political expert.
Dr Adrian Pabst, Head of School of Politics and International Relations at University of Kent, told Express.co.uk: “Part of the reason why she is where she is is because not even the Brexiteers can agree on an alternative.
“If you had one towering figure who would look prime ministerial then they would have got rid of her a while ago.
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“It’s not so much her own merit rather than the absence of a readily-available alternative. That is a big part of it.”
Various frontrunners emerged this week as potential leaders in waiting should Mrs May be toppled at any point.
But Mr Pabst dismissed the options including Sajid Jarvis, Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson saying there was an “absence of impressive leaders”.
What is available to Mrs May’s opponents then are the options of a general election, second referendum – or forcing through a no deal in Parliament.
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While Labour may push for a general election, there will be little appetite among Tories “as they feel they will lose it” so it will be impossible to make one happen said Dr Pabst.
He added: “I don’t think there will be any majority for a referendum as they cannot even agree on what the question should be.”
Talk has surfaced of Brexit mutineer Jacob Rees-Mogg or Nigel Farage forming opposition parties but these seem unlikely considering how long it took to summons the no-confidence motion.
That leaves “the clock ticking” on the existing deal with Mrs May trying to improve it before the crucial Parliament vote.
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If a deal is done and is “not an utter catastrophe” then Mrs May will be regarded as accomplishing “one of the most difficult things in recent British political history” Mr Pabst said.
“She could decide to stay until the summer recess or she could say ‘I got Brexit done, I am going to be deciding when I step down’.”
He added: “It could mean that she stays on for the year and even wants to bask in the limelight at the party conference to say ‘I’m the prime minister who delivered Brexit’.”
But the prime minister is certainly not untouchable and a no-deal in March could see her quickly exit if the economy sours.
Mr Pabst explained: “If there is a recession the pressure on May to step aside will be so immense she will really struggle to cling on.”