Published: Thu, December 13, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

This is how a Conservative leadership contest works

This is how a Conservative leadership contest works

It is understood she will make a statement out side 10 Downing Street later this morning. The victor of the vote becomes Conservative leader and prime minister, without the need for a national election.

The vote will be held tonight, with the result expected at around 9pm.

The threat to May has been building as pro-Brexit lawmakers within the Conservative Party grew increasingly frustrated with the prime minister's conduct of Brexit and the divorce deal she has agreed with the European Union.

Immediate statements of loyalty for the Prime Minister were issued by every MP in Cabinet, including several who have been touted as possible successors.

The ballot has opened for MPs to start voting on Theresa May's leadership.

This means she will continue as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, and another no confidence vote can not be held for the next twelve months.

According to two sources, Dr Merkel told her own German conservative parliamentary group there would be no more negotiations, but efforts were being made to give Britain reassurances.

Lead Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said May should go to the Queen and tender her resignation.

She said she was making progress in her talks with European Union leaders and vowed to "deliver on the referendum vote and seize the opportunities that lie ahead".

Just before the vote May revealed she was prepared to bow out as prime minister by not contesting the next general election in a move created to buy her time to complete the Brexit plans. "I stand ready to finish the job".

May vowed to fight the challenge "with everything I've got", after Graham Brady, who heads a committee overseeing Conservative leadership contests, said he had received letters from at least 48 lawmakers asking for a vote.

The final two candidates are put to a vote of the full party membership across the country.

He also went on this morning's Today programme to argue that now is not the right time to prompt a leadership contest in the Conservative Party, with Brexit negotiations at such a crucial stage.

Prior to that he was the country's longest-serving Health Secretary, a position he held for six years and which made him unpopular with medical staff staging their first all-out strike in the National Health Services' history.

And Bernard Jenkin said the survival of the Conservative government depended on the support of the Democratic Unionists, who he said had lost faith in Mrs May.

Ahead of the vote, Cabinet colleagues rallied to May's support.

Ultimately, this result means she's more likely to get her deal through parliament.

However EU leaders have said they are willing to offer the Prime Minister a "helping hand" to get the deal past warring MPs.

Many supporters of Brexit say May's deal fails to deliver on the clean break with the bloc that they want. A furious opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused May of being "contemptuous of parliament".

MPs will have the power to amend this motion, which could see Remainers and soft Brexiteers try to push-through a "Norway-style" close future relationship with the EU.

But a rising number of backbench lawmakers, along with three of the four living former prime ministers, say the only way out of the impasse may be a new referendum with an option to stay. "She must now bring her dismal deal back to the House of Commons next week so Parliament can take back control". But our party will rightly not tolerate it.

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