As it is, she isn't standing against anyone, so the vote today has become a simple matter of loyalty or disloyalty in the leader. No wonder so few MPs have been willing to stick their heads above the parapet and say publicly that they are voting to remove her. That has sucked some of the momentum out of the anti-May drive, a problem exacerbated by the fact that the leadership were in effective control of the timetable of the vote, and chose the ultra-quick option so that wavering MPs have no time to think. The leadership also effectively controlled the timing of the announcement of the vote, allowing for a choreographed 'shock and awe' campaign of endorsements for the PM early this morning. The TV news dutifully reported all of that, as if Cabinet ministers supporting their own leader was somehow surprising or significant.
On the other hand, we won't know for sure until the result is announced, and secret ballots of Tory MPs do sometimes throw up wild surprises. Most famous is the 1975 example, in which large numbers of MPs who had publicly endorsed Edward Heath must have quietly voted for Mrs Thatcher. And in 1997, the scale of William Hague's victory over Kenneth Clarke took everyone by surprise. We'll see. Given what happened on the evening of the EU referendum, I would certainly caution everyone not to read too much into the calmness of the financial and betting markets.
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