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Theresa May survives but faces monumental challenge

Theresa May managed to survive a vote of no confidence on Wednesday but the divisions in her party have deepened and the prospect of agreement on a Brexit deal seems as far away as before.

It is a sign of the madness that has gripped sections of the Tory Party that some believed it was a good idea, just weeks away from leaving the EU, to try to topple the prime minister despite having no obvious successor in waiting or clear plan for sorting out the Brexit mess.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the European Research Group, declared Mrs May's victory as a 'terrible result', which shows the alarming level of delusion that exists among the arch-Brexiteers.

Certainly, at 200 votes to 117, it was not exactly an overwhelming endorsement but it has to be acknowledged she is a weakened figure, damaged by an ill-judged election campaign and presiding over a party in the throes of a bloody civil war.

The reality is that the Brexiteers will not be satisfied with any form of compromise agreement but while they are in the minority in the Tory Party, there are sufficient numbers to make life difficult for Mrs May.

In order to garner enough votes on Wednesday, the prime minister was forced to concede that she would not lead the Conservatives into the next general election.

It essentially makes her a lame duck prime minister but her immediate focus is plainly on getting her Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons.

However, she faces an enormous challenge with the EU leaders making sympathetic noises while pouring cold water on hopes of any meaningful change to what is already on offer.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the EU was keen to offer assurances and clarifications but insisted, 'the backstop is not on the table.'

After a week of drama and intrigue at Westminster, Mrs May has held onto her job but the toughest test is still ahead.

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