Theresa May scraped through a vital vote tonight that – after a start to the week in which she whipped MPs to defeat her own EU proposals to placate her extreme-Brexit back-benchers – would have been likely to end her tenure had she lost it.
It has now emerged that she was so desperate to cling on that she broke a solemn promise to women MPs on maternity leave to win the ‘crunch’ vote.
LibDem MP Jo Swinson is one of a number of women MPs currently on maternity leave from Parliament and therefore unable to take part in today’s votes. Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom had given a firm promise that Ms Swinson and others would be ‘paired’ during voting ‘divisions’ – a parliamentary convention in which MPs who can’t be present for a vote are matched by an MP from the other side who also doesn’t vote, cancelling out the absence.
There is no possibility that she made that promise without the knowledge of Theresa May.
But Swinson tweeted this evening:
May’s desperation is so great that whatever passes in her own mind for her integrity was tossed aside like a used sticking-plaster in her quest to cling on – not to power, since she lost that long ago, but to position.
It’s likely to be a short-lived reprieve.
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