Memes posted about ballgown Theresa May wore to Boris Johnson vote

‘It was the one in a lovely shade of schadenfreude’: Ballgown Theresa May wore to Boris Johnson confidence vote becomes subject of hilarious memes

  • Conservative former prime minister Theresa May did not say which way she voted in Westminster yesterday
  • Tory MPs backed Mr Johnson by 211 to 148 following questions over his leadership amid Partygate scandal
  • Mrs May went off to speak at dinner marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and was seen with husband Philip
  • Mr Johnson’s 59% share was less than the 63% Mrs May achieved in her confidence vote of December 2018

Britons poked fun at Theresa May wearing a glittering floor-length blue ballgown and sequinned heels to cast her ballot in the Boris Johnson vote of confidence last night, as they posted a series of memes about her outfit.

The Conservative former prime minister would not say which way she voted in Westminster this time, three years after surviving a vote for herself with a bigger margin – as Tory MPs backed Mr Johnson by 211 to 148 yesterday.

Mrs May, 65, said she was not ‘answering any questions’ as she left Committee Room 10 at Parliament, but said she was off to speak at a dinner marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and was seen leaving in a car.

And after it emerged that Mrs May was wearing the ballgown, but no photographs of her were revealed, Twitter users posted a series of images online jokingly speculating about what she might have looked like. 

A picture taken later last night showed Mrs May sitting in the back of a vehicle with her husband Philip after leaving the Athenaeum Club on Pall Mall where she is believed to have given her speech.

And Mrs May would have no doubt later noticed that Mr Johnson’s 59 per cent share was less than the 63 per cent she achieved in her confidence vote of December 2018, before she was replaced around half a year later.

While Mr Johnson is not thought to have ever confirmed he voted against Mrs May, he had resigned from government and was opposing her Brexit plan at the time – so it is assumed that he did.

Now, it has been suggested that Mrs May could return to the Cabinet in a senior role such as Chancellor of the Exchequer if Mr Johnson does eventually lose his leadership of the Conservative Party.

Mrs May faced a vote of confidence in her leadership on December 12, 2018. News that the contest would take place was announced early that morning by Sir Graham Brady – then, as now, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee of MPs – with the ballot taking place the same day between 6pm and 8pm.

A total of 317 Conservative MPs were able to vote, meaning Mrs May needed at least 159 to win a majority.

How Boris Johnson’s share of vote compares with his election as leader

A total of 59% of Conservative MPs voted in favour of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in yesterday’s confidence ballot, while 41% voted against.

Speaking after the result, Mr Johnson said: ‘I got a far bigger mandate from my own parliamentary colleagues, for instance, that I had in 2019.’

He was referring to the result of the final round of voting by MPs in the 2019 Conservative leadership contest, which saw him win 160 votes (51% of the total), while Jeremy Hunt won 77 (25%) and Michael Gove won 75 (24%).

There were three names on the ballot paper in that contest, but only two choices were available to MPs in Monday’s vote: confidence or no confidence.

After the final round of voting by MPs in the 2019 leadership contest, the two candidates with the most votes – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – went head to head in a ballot of all members of the Conservative Party.

In that contest, Mr Johnson finished with 66% of the votes and Mr Hunt ended with 34%.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, speaking to Sky News this morning about yesterday’s confidence vote, said: ‘The Prime Minister won it with 59% – that’s actually more than he got in terms of support when he was elected leader of the Conservative Party.’

Mr Raab was not strictly correct, as the result of the contest that saw Mr Johnson formally elected leader of the Conservative Party – the poll of party members – saw him win 66% of the votes. Mr Raab was actually referring to the final round of voting by MPs, in which Mr Johnson won 51% of the votes in a three-way contest.

The result was announced at 9pm that night, with 200 MPs (63 per cent) saying they had confidence in Mrs May and 117 (37 per cent) saying they had no confidence: a majority of 83.

This was enough for Mrs May to continue in the short term as both party leader and prime minister.

But just five months later she announced her resignation, following repeated failures to get her Brexit deal through the House of Commons and a disastrous performance by the Conservatives in the European elections.

Today, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said the vote of confidence in Mr Johnson will be less damaging to his position than it was for Mrs May because he has a larger majority in Parliament.

Mr Raab told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘We won the biggest majority since 1987 in 2019, and that’s very different from, for example, the situation Theresa May found herself in because there was a hung parliament.

‘But there’s no doubt there are challenges, and no doubt we need to listen to some of the critics and the dissenting voices, I accept all of that.’

Meanwhile Tory MPs have expressed anger at a suggestion by Sir Graham that party rules could be changed to enable Mr Johnson to face another leadership vote.

At present, a Tory leader who wins a no-confidence vote cannot face another for 12 months. But Sir Graham said: ‘Technically it’s possible for rules to be changed but the rule at present is there would be a period of grace.’

In the wake of Mrs May’s victory in her vote of confidence in 2018, some Tory backbenchers campaigned for the length of time to be cut to just six months. But the rule change was never brought in, largely because Mrs May resigned within months.

Also yesterday, Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was ‘mistaken’ to suggest that Mrs May had lost the confidence of too many Tories in 2019. When asked what victory would look like for Mr Johnson, Cabinet Office minister Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘One is enough.’

Asked about remarks he made about Mrs May’s confidence vote in 2019, he added: ‘When I said that, everybody said to me I was wrong. I was wrong on two grounds. One is that democracy requires that one is enough, and the other is that it was ungenerous.

‘Somebody has won and I accepted that, that I think that I was mistaken in saying that there were secret, hidden rules. I don’t think there are, but of course then Theresa May then lost parliamentary votes and that was what led to her going rather than the vote of confidence.’

10.30pm: Theresa May in the back of a car with her husband Philip after leaving the Athenaeum Club in London last night

8.27pm: Former prime minister Theresa May is seen leaving the Houses of Parliament in Westminster last night after the vote

5.56pm: Theresa May is seen arriving at Westminster yesterday to cast her ballot in the vote of confidence for Boris Johnson 

2.19pm: Theresa May is seen outside Westminster yesterday ahead of the vote of confidence for Boris Johnson

2018: While there are no pictures circulating of Theresa May in her full-length ballgown last night, observers said that it was similar to this dress which she wore at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall in London on November 12, 2018

Last Friday: Theresa May and her husband Philip May leave after attending the service for the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral 

December 12, 2018: Prime Minister Theresa May gives a speech at Downing Street after surviving a vote of confidence

Following his victory, Mr Johnson today promised to cut taxes and drive down the cost of government after a wounding revolt by Tory MPs put his long-term future in doubt.

The Prime Minister thanked Cabinet colleagues for their efforts to support him during the confidence vote process.

In an attempt to address criticism of his economic policies, Mr Johnson said the ‘fundamental Conservative instinct’ was to allow people to decide how to spend their money, urging Cabinet ministers to cut costs.

He said ‘delivering tax cuts’ would help deliver ‘considerable growth in employment and economic progress’.

Last Friday, Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie attended the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, with Mrs May and her husband Philip also in the congregation. 

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