A British Conservative Party official said Wednesday that Prime Minister Theresa May will face a no-confidence vote from party lawmakers.
Graham Brady said the threshold of 48 letters from lawmakers needed to trigger a leadership vote has been reached. Brady chairs the Conservative party committee that oversees leadership contests.
Many lawmakers have been growing angry with May over her handling of Brexit.
May responded to the development by vowing to fight to stay in power “with everything I’ve got” and appealing to party colleagues to support her leadership.
May made the defiant statement outside her Downing Street office, arguing that stepping aside at a time of crisis would “put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it.”
She said a change of national leader would result in Britain’s departure from the European Union being delayed or stopped
If she loses the vote of party legislators, which takes place on Wednesday evening, May must step down. If she wins, she can’t be challenged again for a year.
BREAKING: Here is the letter from Sir Graham Brady MP triggering the Conservative party leadership contest ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/YR1XaoQN6x
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) December 12, 2018
On Monday May said she was postponing a Parliamentary vote scheduled for the following day that was to decide the fate of her divorce deal with the European Union amid predictions that she would lose.
May’s Conservative government does not have a majority in the House of Commons, and opposition parties — as well as dozens of Conservative lawmakers — say they will not back the a deal that May and EU leaders agreed on last month.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal keeps Britain bound too closely to the EU, while pro-EU politicians say it erects barriers between the UK and its biggest trading partner and leaves many details of the future relationship undecided.
In another twist in the Brexit saga, the European Union’s top court ruled Monday that Britain can change its mind over Brexit, boosting the hopes of people who want to stay in the EU that the process can be reversed.
The European Court of Justice ruled that when an EU member country has notified its intent to leave, “that member state is free to revoke unilaterally that notification.”
Britain voted in 2016 to leave the 28-nation bloc, and invoked Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, triggering a two-year exit process.
Article 50 contains few details, in part because the idea of any country leaving was considered unlikely.