THERESA May was branded a “lame duck leader” by Nicola Sturgeon after the Prime Minister just managed to see off a bid by her MPs to oust her last night.

After a day of high drama at Westminster Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, announced the PM had won a no-confidence vote. But the result was closer than had been expected, with 117 Tory MPs voting against her and 200 for. The First Minister said it was “barely even a pyrrhic victory” for May, who earlier said she would not fight the 2022 General Election as leader.

“She may have clung on to the Conservative leadership, but her remaining authority has been fatally undermined,” Sturgeon said. “Even after being forced into saying she would stand down soon, almost 40% of her parliamentary group has voted against her – meaning presumably a majority of her backbenchers did so. In any normal situation, the Prime Minister’s position would be untenable.

“The crisis and chaos currently facing the UK is entirely a result of the vicious civil war that has engulfed the self-centred Conservative Party – at a crucial time in the UK’s history, it has a lame-duck prime minister saddled with a lame-duck Brexit deal.”

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May immediately came under fresh pressure, too, from Brexiteer rebels, with Jacob Rees-Mogg, who led calls for the confidence vote, saying it was a “terrible result for the prime min-ister” and called on her to resign.

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Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary, Lesley Laird, pictured above, added: “Theresa May has already lost all authority. She has clung on for now to lead a government that was the first in history to be found in contempt of Parliament and she is still dodging a vote on her Brexit deal because she knows she will lose. She is in office, but not in power.”

After the result, May said she was “pleased to have received the support of my colleagues” and would listen to what her critics inside the party said.

May earlier told Tory MPs she will not lead the party into the next General Election.

Anger over the backstop among Tory backbenchers and their Democratic Unionist Party allies was the main obstacle to May getting her Brexit deal through the Commons earlier this week. Her decision to defer the vote sparked a new wave of letters of no confidence which pushed the total beyond the threshold of 48 needed to trigger a ballot. DUP leader Arlene Foster, who met May shortly before the vote, insisted “tinkering around the edges” of the PM’s deal would not be enough to win her party’s support for the PM’s Brexit deal. Foster, whose 10 MPs prop up the minority Tory administration, said she told the May “we were not seeking assurances or promises, we wanted fundamental legal text changes”.

Brady informed May in a phone call late on Tuesday night that she would face a ballot, as she returned to 10 Downing Street from a day of travels which had taken her to The Hague, Berlin and Brussels for Brexit talks with EU leaders. Brady announced yesterday morning the threshold had been reached and a confidence vote would be held later.

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Dr Kirsty Hughes, of the Scottish Centre on European Relations, said May faces a deepening crisis. “If May cannot get her deal through the Commons, the crisis will intensify. There’s no majority in the Commons for a no deal. The real question is if there’s a majority for a people’s vote.

“If the Commons voted for another referendum – in the face of opposition from May – then it’s hard to see how she could implement that decision. We may be looking at a temporary cross-party government or even an election – despite May saying she won’t lead Tories into the next one.”