Wed, 12 Dec 2018
Richard Benyon - Conservative
NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon has said he will be backing Prime Minister Theresa May in tonight's no confidence vote.
A tumultuous 24 hours for Mrs May has seen members of her party state that they have lost faith in her leadership.
The required 48 letters needed to trigger a no confidence vote reached the party's 1922 committee last night; and Conservative MPs will vote on the future of the party, Brexit and Britain from 6pm.
Mr Benyon released a video on YouTube this morning outlining his position.
In the one-minute-and-23-second post Mr Benyon said: "So quite a momentous day in Parliament today.
"I regret the decision of some of my colleagues to call a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, precisely at this time where she is trying to go the last mile to secure a deal that will secure a majority in the house of commons; and that will be welcomed by most people out there in the real world; and it just seems to me to be the wrong time to say goodbye to a Prime Minister who is working unbelievable long hours to try and get this deal through.
"And so what will happen? Well I hope she will win, and that she will get on and be able to bring to parliament this and we will vote on all kinds of permutations; and if it's rejected she may well want to pivot to some new solution.
"She may well want to leave that to somebody else or a caretaker but that's for another day.
"To me it is entirely the wrong time, and not the way I like things to be done in politics or in life, and therefore I will be supporting the Prime Minister in the vote tonight."
Speaking to NewbutyToday this afternoon, Mr Benyon added: "It just seems like it's extreme danger and folly.
"I think my party will back her. She has got to be given the chance to bring a deal with changes back to Parliament and see what Parliament makes of it.
"It's stupendously bad timing."
Mr Benyon said that he wanted to see a deal get through Parliament that required all of its energies focused on it.
"I'm grounded in the real world by the wisdom of business managers in West Berkshire who are deeply concerned about the prospect of no deal," he said.
Mr Benyon added there was potential of landing huge investment if a deal was secured but businesses were holding off "and who can blame them?".
The vote will be held tonight, with the result expected at around 9pm.
Mrs May will need the backing of at least 158 Conservative MPs to remain as leader. But she could chose to resign if she wins support by a low margin.
If Mrs May loses tonight's vote she will have to resign as leader of the party. She will remain as Prime Minister until a new leader is appointed, which could take up to six weeks and draw close to January 21; the day when her Brexit deal must return to Parliament.
If that happens, MPs have said that Article 50 may have to be suspended.
If Mrs May wins, she cannot be challenged for another year.
Mr Benyon said that a loss for the Prime Minister would lead to a leadership contest when MPs needed to focus on "this most difficult situation, the most difficult situation this country has seen for a long time and then we can get on with things that matter to other people and me".
When asked about the front runners to replace Mrs May, he said: "I really haven't ... you know the section of the party I'm from. The Conservative Party, part of it's strength is it's always been a broad church but the Prime Minister is the Prime Minister and deserves all our support."