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After Dramatic Ballot, British Prime Minister Survives No-Confidence Vote

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

British Prime Minister Theresa May spent the day fighting for her political life. She faced a vote of no confidence from members of her own party - a fight that, in the end, she won.

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GRAHAM BRADY: The result of the ballot held this evening is that the Parliamentary party does have confidence.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Conservative MPs called the vote this morning. They questioned her ability to continue Brexit negotiations. That set off a day of political maneuvering, with May striking a defiant tone outside 10 Downing Street.

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PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY: I will contest that vote with everything I've got. A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now will put our country's future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it.

SHAPIRO: May warned that a change in leadership would put her complex negotiations on Brexit in serious jeopardy. But in the House of Commons, many MPs weren't buying it.

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JEREMY CORBYN: The time for dithering and delay by this government is over. The prime minister has negotiated her deal. She's told us it's the best and only deal available. There can be no more excuses, no more running away. Put it before Parliament.

CORNISH: That's Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition. He's referring to May's decision this week to delay a vote on her Brexit deal. It's wildly unpopular on all sides

SHAPIRO: May then met face-to-face with those who forced the no-confidence vote. She said that whatever the outcome, she intends to resign before the next general election in 2022. One of the people in that meeting was Member of Parliament Brandon Lewis, speaking here to Sky News.

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BRANDON LEWIS: Well, Prime Minister is very honest with colleagues, actually very personal. She made it clear that she recognizes the view of some colleagues around what they think should be leading the party - who or what they want for 2022.

SHAPIRO: In the end, 200 voted that they had confidence in May, 117 did not - something May addressed shortly after the tally was announced.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MAY: This has been a long and challenging day. But at the end of it, I'm pleased to have received the backing of my colleagues in tonight's ballot. Whilst I'm grateful for that support, a significant number of colleagues did cast a vote against me, and I have listened to what they said. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.