If TMay loses a confidence vote then she can’t be a contender
It is perhaps not surprising given the scale of the story at the time was but whenever people think of Conservative leadership contests and disposal of incumbents they look back to 1990 when Mrs Thatcher had to depart.
Hence that is the only reason, I suggest, that Paddy Power in the latest range of markets following the David Davis resignation have included Theresa May as a potential candidate in a new contest.
To emphasise it simply does not work like that anymore. Mrs May will either go when she steps down of our own accord or else there is a confidence vote amongst Conservative MPs which she loses.
A confidence vote can only happen if 15% of the total number of Conservative MPs send letters to the chairman of the 1922 committee requesting that such a move should take place. On current numbers that means that 48 fellow Conservative MPs have got to send their letters in to 1922 chairman Graham Brady.
There have been all sorts of rumours over the last 24 hours about CON MPs being ready to send the letters to Mr Brady who is required to set up an immediate ballot should the total be reached.
It was interesting that Stephen Baker, the minister who resigned alongside David Davis, was making clear this morning that there simply wasn’t the time for the Conservatives to go through a leadership contest given that we are due to leave the EU on March 29th next year.
It could be that there is a fix – that those who have been named as a leading contenders agree amongst themselves not to stand and only one candidate to emerge from the nomination process. That was what happened in 2003 with Iain Duncan Smith. He lost a confidence vote and Michael Howard succeeded him as leader without having to be bothered with the trouble of a leadership election.
Will that happened again? Quite simply we don’t know but a lot clearly is going on at Westminster and we might get a pointer in the next few hours.