Prime Minister Theresa May had the support of her husband Philip from the House of Commons gallery as she went into Prime Minister’s Questions facing a vote of no confidence.
Mrs May is awaiting tonight’s verdict from Conservative MPs after the threshold of 48 letters of no confidence was passed, triggering a ballot on her leadership.
The vote will be held from 6pm to 8pm, with the PM needing the support of at least 158 of her MPs to remain party leader.
Several MPs expressed admiration at Philip May’s presence at PMQs, with Conservative MP Neil O’Brien tweeting: “Just spotted Philip May in the gallery for PMQs. What a great guy. We all need someone to be there for us no matter who we are.”
With PMQs coming just hours after the ballot for leadership was triggered, many said Philip was a welcome show of support for the Prime Minister.
Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford, Tracey Crouch, said: “I love that Philip May is in the gallery. What you want most when the shit hits the fan at work is the unconditional love and support from the rock in your life knowing they’ll be there for you during and long after.”
The Mays married in 1980 after meeting as students at Oxford University.
In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Mrs May described her husband as her “rock”, adding: “It’s hugely important to have somebody there who is supportive of you, not involved in the intricacies of politics but there to provide human support.”
After spotting Mr May in the gallery, MP Michael Fabricant said: “It’s heartrending. Philip May in the gallery smiles at the PM as she looks for him while she stands by the Speaker Chair before her entry. Then [their] eyes met.”
Pippa Crerar, the Daily Mirror’s political editor, also weighed in on Mr May’s presence in the House of Commons.
She said on Twitter: “Philip May, sitting in the Commons gallery, only has eyes for his missus as she soldiers through the most difficult PMQs of her political life.”
Mrs May has vowed to fight to remain as Conservative leader and Prime Minister “with everything I’ve got”.
In a statement outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday morning, Mrs May warned a change of leadership would put the UK’s future at risk and could delay or halt Brexit.
A failure to reach enough support to stay on as PM would trigger a leadership contest in which Mrs May could not stand. However if she wins, another challenge cannot be made against her for a year.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron supported Theresa May on Twitter, writing: “I hope Conservative MPs will back the PM in the vote today. We need no distractions from seeking the best outcome with our neighbours, friends and partners in the EU.”