Amid the chaos that has been engulfing Westminster since the cabinet’s outing at Chequers last week, there has been wide speculation over the future of the Prime Minister, Theresa May. Much of this speculation is based around a theory that she will lose a no-confidence vote, once 48 letters have been sent to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, however as it currently stands, this is the least likely way the Prime Minister will leave office.
The Brexit White Paper, based on the deal agreed at Chequers, will be presented to the Commons on Thursday, and the implications of this are more likely to affect Theresa May. Even if only those who have openly opposed the deal thus far, vote against it when it comes to the Commons, she will still lose the vote. This is because of the current government being a minority administration that is reliant on confidence and supply from Northern Ireland’s DUP.
As it currently stands, Labour will oppose the Chequers deal — they say because it does not fit the Six requirements that Sir Kier Starmer laid out, however it is obvious that the opposition would use this as a way of defeating the government and seising upon an opportunity to undermine the Prime Minister further. The Liberal Democrats, will also likely oppose the deal when it comes to a Commons vote. This is because, as former leader Nick Clegg implied, they believe that voting this deal down will increase the likelihood of Brexit being abandoned completely, this will ultimately not happen. The same can be said for the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru, who will all see a vote on the Chequers deal as a way of both trying to prevent Brexit from happening and delivering a killer blow to the Prime Minister.
This opposition votes will not alone do the job, and they will have to be joint by Conservative rebels, and as it currently stands — they could be up to 80 Conservative MPs.
Even if only a handful of Pro-Brexit MPs that opposed the Chequers deal, were to vote against the Government, they would ultimately kill the Chequers deal and leave their leader, party and country in complete and utter chaos.
The first consequence of the Chequers deal being voted down, would be the end of Theresa May’s Premiership. The Chequers deal is her Poll Tax — something that is loathed by the opposition and many of her own MPs, she will look stubborn and rigid for carrying on down this path. However if she were to u-turn and abandon the deal, she would look even weaker and be finished. In this circumstance, the Prime Minister is damned whatever route she takes, something that is fatal to her Premiership.
The likelihood of an early election if the deal is voted down in the Commons, is still highly unlikely, but it isn’t hard to envisage a new Conservative leader who is going through an honeymoon period to go to the polls, in an attempt to try and claim a sizeable majority to push through their form of Brexit. This is because, as it currently stands due to parliamentary arithmetic, no one will be able to pass their form of Brexit — which is what many Eurosceptic MPs want as they believe this will result in no-deal.
Theresa May will not be ousted by a vote of no-confidence within her own party, but will see her Premiership finish, if and when the Commons rejects her Chequers deal.