LONDON — The pound made gains on Wednesday night following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s confidence vote win, but the victory was a Pyrrhic one, and there will be trouble ahead.
The pound rose to $1.26 following the announcement that May had won the confidence vote among Tory parliamentarians, with 200 MPs in favor of keeping her as prime minister and 117 voting against. She needed 158 votes to keep her job. Earlier in the day, when the confidence vote was first announced, the pound was at $1.25.
The pound rose to 1.14 euros following the vote, compared to 1.11 euros at around noon on Wednesday.
While May will remain as prime minister — for now — she’s already told the party she won’t lead them into the 2022 election.
With 117 Tory parliamentarians voting against her on Wednesday night, it’s clear she’ll also have problems pushing through future legislation, and particularly her controversial Brexit proposal, which parliament has to vote on by Jan. 21.
As reported, May postponed the parliamentary vote on the terms of Brexit indefinitely. Her proposed deal is unpopular with parliament and with the public and many now believe the U.K. will be worse off outside the European Union than in it.
Earlier in the day, Conservative members of parliament had moved to topple May after she postponed the vote, with fellow Tories Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid jockeying to take her place as party leader and prime minister.
May said this morning that she planned to contest the vote with all her will.
“A leadership election risks handing control of Brexit negotiations over to opposition members of parliament. The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament,” May said outside Downing Street on Wednesday morning.
“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. I was due to travel to Dublin this afternoon, but I will now remain in London to make the case of my leadership with my parliamentary colleges. I stand ready to finish the job,” she continued.
Now that she’s won the vote of confidence, May cannot be challenged by Tory party members for another year.