Pound Rises as Markets Bet on Theresa May’s Confidence Vote Win

The pound made modest gains against the dollar and the euro in mid-morning trading on Wednesday, just minutes after British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed on live TV that she’d fight for her job in a no confidence vote set for the evening.

The FTSE 100 was also on the rise, climbing 1.36 percent to 6,899.02 at around noon. The pound was up 0.4 percent against the dollar at $1.25, and had gained 0.3 percent against the euro to 1.11 euros.

Markets fear uncertainty, and the prospect of a new British prime minister and cabinet would most likely have sent the pound tumbling.

Conservative party members of parliament have moved to topple May after she postponed indefinitely a vote on Britain’s Brexit deal. Already, party members including Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid are jockeying to take her place.

May said she’ll contest the vote with everything she’s got.

“A leadership election risks handing control of Brexit negotiations over to opposition members of parliament. The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament,” May said outside Downing Street on Wednesday morning.

“A change of leadership in the Conservative party now will put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it. I was due to travel to Dublin this afternoon, but I will now remain in London to make the case of my leadership with my parliamentary colleges. I stand ready to finish the job,” she continued.

If May wins the vote she cannot be challenged by Tory party members for another year, although she may chose to step down if her victory is a feeble one. On Wednesday night she needs to win a simple majority — the votes of 158 members of parliament — to keep her job.

Parliament — and the country — is divided over May’s plan for Brexit, with some saying it’s the most palatable of all the options, others arguing that the country needs to hold another referendum and others still who say that a no-deal Brexit is the only way forward.

According to the bookies Ladbrokes (many Brits can’t resist a bet), May is odds-on to win the no confidence vote. Ladbrokes said that if she is ousted, Johnson and Dominic Raab, formerly Britain’s secretary of state for exiting the European Union, are the joint-favorites to become the next permanent leader of the Tories, followed by Javid.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.

Access exclusive content