What looked like the first stirrings of a recovery in the pound Tuesday morning has given way to more selling, as the British currency tumbled to $1.2502 - just above a key psychological threshold - following reports that the conservatives' 1922 committee had finally received the 48 letters of no confidence necessary to trigger a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May.
The no confidence letter count stood at 46 as recently as Tuesday morning. However, a few frustrated remainers joined with their Brexiteer peers to push the total over the top. What's worse, the gesture of contempt comes as May is out of the country on a "whistlestop" our of European capitals in a desperate bid to achieve "assurances" on the Irish backstop that multiple EU leaders have said they wouldn't be willing to give.
In what has become a regular feature of the Brexit chaos, reports that the threshold had been reached were almost immediately contradicted...
Masses of speculation about the numbers going in - lots of people hoping the 48 has been reached, but not clear - ‘we’ll def have them by....’ - fill in the blanks - but as @BethRigby says, mood seems to be hardening towards PM for sure https://t.co/SHA1iSw5Wg— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) December 11, 2018
...Which was followed by a wave of reports insisting that yes, the threshold has been reached.
Here we go again. An ERG source writes: "They've reached 48 letters. Whitehall confirmed and someone in the chairman's office."— Adam Payne (@adampayne26) December 11, 2018
And as fate would have it, this bout of internecine warfare among the Tories is brewing just as Labour is reportedly backing away from its plans to call for a no confidence vote in May's government.