Published: Wed, December 12, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Almost 200 Conservative lawmakers indicate support for PM May: Reuters tally

Almost 200 Conservative lawmakers indicate support for PM May: Reuters tally

Brexit supporters had for months threatened to submit the 48 letters from MPs needed to trigger a confidence vote in May, seeking a leader who would make a cleaner break with the EU.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May defended her leadership outside 10 Downing Street just before 9 a.m. Wednesday, revealing that her Conservative Party had demanded a vote of confidence in her premiership amid the tumult of Britain exiting the EU.

The prime minister has said that she will "contest leadership vote with everything I have got".

A majority of Tory MPs have publicly said they will back the PM in the vote, which runs for two hours from 18:00 GMT (7am NZT), but it is a secret ballot. May vowed she stood "ready to finish the job".

Both May and Tusk also said they would look at stepping up preparations for the potentially catastrophic possibility that Britain leaves the European Union without any new legal arrangements in place.

MPs from all sides of the House of Commons expressed outrage and frustration that May called off a vote on the deal that she had agreed to with the European Union covering how the United Kingdom will leave the bloc.

May faces a vote of no confidence on Wednesday evening sparked by MPs from the anti-EU wing of her Conservative party, plunging her into her biggest crisis since taking office after the 2016 Brexit vote.

"She said that she did not intend to lead us into the 2022 election", lawmaker Alec Shelbrooke said, adding "her opening remarks were, "I am not going to hold a snap election".

The leadership challenge marked an eruption of the Conservative Party's decades-long divide over Europe and threw Britain's already rocky path out of the European Union, which it is due to leave on March 29, into further chaos. May would need a simple majority of the total votes registered in order to win.

"I will discuss with them the clear concerns that this house has expressed", she said.

A claim of reaching the threshold turned out to be premature before, but anger over May's handling of Brexit has been growing within her party.

May also warned that finding a successor - who would automatically become prime minister - "would mean either delaying or stopping Brexit". The victor of that contest, as leader of the largest party in Parliament, will be invited by Queen Elizabeth II to form a new government.

A British Conservative Party official says Prime Minister Theresa May will face a no-confidence vote from party lawmakers.

The last general election was in June 2017, and the next one is scheduled to be held no later than May 5, 2022. Javid tweeted that a leadership contest, with Brexit little more than three months away, "will be seen as self-indulgent and wrong". The final two contenders would then be put to the national party membership in a postal ballot. But she would be weaker - lonelier - and with less authority to drive her Brexit compromise through.

But if May's deal fails in parliament and Brexit is not delayed, then Britain could be heading towards a disorderly exit that investors fear will clog the arteries of trade, dislocate supply chains and roil markets.

If British lawmakers approve the agreement, it must still be endorsed by European Parliament members before March 29.

"We have a common determination to do everything to be not in the situation one day to use that backstop, but we have to prepare", Juncker said.

On Wednesday, May plans to visit Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin amid her worsening political woes at home.

All 315 Tory legislators can vote on the confidence motion.

But prominent Brexit-backing MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said it was "time for Mrs May to resign".

Instead, she said she would visit European leaders and seek "additional reassurance" on some of the deal's more contentious elements.

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