Embattled British prime minister Theresa May will face a vote of no confidence Wednesday as a number of her fellow Tory MPs, angered by her handling of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, seek to unseat her.
Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 committee of Conservative lawmakers, said Wednesday that he had reached the threshold required to hold a no-confidence vote after receiving letters from 48 members, or 15 percent, of the conservative Tory party objecting to May’s continued leadership. Should May lose the confidence of her party, she would be replaced as Tory leader and her successor would take over as prime minister.
The no-confidence vote comes after May postponed a vote in the House of Commons on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, previously scheduled for Tuesday, after realizing she lacked the votes to pass it.
The agreement May stewarded over the past two years has encountered stiff opposition from her fellow conservatives, many of whom strenuously object to a provision in the agreement that requires Britain to remain in compliance with E.U. customs rules. That provision, which can only be vacated with the consent of the E.U., is necessary in order to prevent the closure of the Northern Irish border.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street Wednesday morning, May vowed to “contest that vote with everything I’ve got.”
“A change in leadership in the Conservative Party now will put our country at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it,” she added. “Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart would only create more division, when we should be standing together.”
Should May secure the backing of 158 of the 300 conservative MPs, she will retain her leadership of the Tory party and her critics will be unable to challenge her leadership again for one year.
There is no plan currently in place to manage Britain’s March 29 withdrawal from the European Union — a state of affairs that, if left unremedied, will likely result in massive political and economic disruption.