Welwyn Hatfield Conservatives mull over Prime Minister no-confidence vote

PUBLISHED: 14:20 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:24 12 December 2018

L-R: Welwyn Hatfield council leader Tony Kingsbury, and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps. Pictures: supplied

L-R: Welwyn Hatfield council leader Tony Kingsbury, and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps. Pictures: supplied

supplied

Welwyn Hatfield Conservatives are considering the unfolding question of whether Theresa May should remain Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Theresa May will face a confidence vote between 6pm and 8pm today after a number of Conservative MPs wrote letters stating they no longer had faith in her as leader.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps thinks Theresa May will survive the vote.

“I don’t think it’s a great time to have such a vote, and I’m interested to hear what she has to say this afternoon,” he said to LBC’s Shelagh Fogarty at lunchtime.

“In the end it’s the policy rather than the person that really matters here.”

He spoke of when he joined calls for a leadership challenge last year, saying: “Like it or not that was the moment to do this, much more so than now in the 11th hour and the 59th minute.”

Mr Shapps has a meeting with the Prime Minister scheduled before the vote takes place and said he was interested to hear what solutions she would bring to the table on the Brexit deal question that has triggered the challenge.

He had previously been leaning towards voting against her deal because of the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’, objecting to the fact that we would be entering into a deal that we could not unilaterally leave - right at the moment when the country seeks full sovereignty.

He did not reveal how he planned to vote in the secret ballot himself.

Cllr Tony Kingsbury, Welwyn Hatfield Council leader, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “It’s obviously a very difficult situation ... I really don’t envy [MPs] for that.”

He said that the turmoil at the top “doesn’t help”.

But he wouldn’t be drawn on how he would vote if he were an MP, saying: “We need to focus on what we’re doing locally, and whatever happens it’s for MPs to decide.”

He said he hadn’t spoken to Mr Shapps yet.

On the doorsteps and pavements of Welwyn Hatfield, Cllr Kingsbury said he’s encountered a wide range of views on how Brexit is going. “I get all sorts of comments and distinct views, with people keen to remain and people keen to leave. The views are very mixed about it ... in terms of Brexit there’s a lot of uncertainty and views are very polarised.”

Conservative MP for Hertsmere, Oliver Dowden, has already signalled that he intends to vote in support of the Prime Minister this evening.

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