So, I suppose you’re wondering what on earth is going on with this raging hellfire of a country? You and me both, babe. And, so too is Chrissy Teigen, which is a comfort to all of us in these dark, confusing times.
okay one of my goals for 2019 is to understand UK politics. I read and read and try and learn but my brain cannot grasp it
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) December 12, 2018
Fret ye not though, we’ll do our best to explain WTF is going on right now so you’re armed with the knowledge to go ahead and bang your head against your desk in despair. Knowledge is power, right? Eh.
So, what exactly is going on?
Good question. Basically, enough Conservative Members of Parliament have requested a vote of confidence in Theresa May, sparking a leadership contest.
A vote of confidence occurs when the Prime Minister is basically considered no longer fit to keep their job. In order for a vote of no confidence to be kicked off, 48 Tory MPs — 15 percent – have to write to the chairman of the Conservative 1922 committee, a group of backbench Tories who hold weekly meetings.
First thing on Wednesday morning, the chairman — Sir Graham Brady MP — signed his name on a press release stating this threshold had been “exceeded” and therefore a ballot would be held between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. GMT on Wednesday. True to bumbling British form, Brady misspelled the word chairman, instead referring to himself as “chairmam.” Nice one.
So, that happened. Not long after, Theresa May made an early morning statement outside 10 Downing Street before people had even had a chance to eat their breakfast.
May said she planned to contest the vote with “everything” she’s got, adding that a change in leadership would delay Brexit and jeopardise the withdrawal agreement.
“A new leader wouldn’t be in place by Jan. 21 legal deadline so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in parliament,” said May. “The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by March 29.”
May cancelled her plans to travel to Dublin on Wednesday to go see Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar – part of her big plan to secure “additional reassurances” about the Brexit deal. Instead, she’s staying put in London to try to convince her party that she’s the best person for the job.
The PM needs 158 votes — a majority of half the Conservative MPs plus one — in order to win. If this happens, May will be safe from another formal leadership challenge for a year.
If she loses, a series of steps to put a new leader in place will begin. First, they’ll set a date for the first round of the leadership election. Next, they’ll nominate contenders to replace the current PM. Contenders need backing of a minimum of two other Conservative MPs. Then, rounds of elections will take place to whittle down the number of contenders. When two candidates remain, members of the Conservative Party will ultimately decide who the leader will be in an open election.
Some MPs have publicly noted their no confidence vote in the prime minister. David Davis — former Brexit Minister — has released his manifesto for getting a new deal for exiting the European Union. Hold your horses there, Dave.
They say a week is a long time in politics. But in today’s political climate that saying applies to every minute.
All could change by Wednesday night and speculation has already begun about the main contenders to take over as party leader if May is defeated.
Mashable will continue to update this post as events unfold.