Conservative party triggers vote of no confidence in Theresa May

May had staged a late battle to save her job, her European Union divorce bill and maybe even Brexit itself as lawmakers in her Conservative Party held a no-confidence vote on her leadership.

Lib Dem Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran condemned the vote of no confidence.

The last batch came in after May delayed Tuesday's vote on the Brexit deal, a move that sparked outrage among MPs of all the political parties. That would mean May would stay on as "caretaker" PM while her party picks a successor.

Brady said that the party aimed to finish the first stage of any leadership contest - in which lawmakers vote to whittle down the field of contenders to two - before Parliament breaks for Christmas on December 20.

One leading Brexiteer said the crucial number for her survival would be 80 as this is the halfway mark of backbench Tory MPs, once the so-called Government payroll vote is taken out.

"I assume that if PM wins tonight - even if only by one vote - you'll be applying the same logic and supporting her in full thereafter?"

She could, for example, threaten her rebels that without their backing she would have to lean towards a softer Brexit- something that could gain support from opposition MPs.

Even after weathering a no confidence vote, Mrs May is still at the helm of a deeply divided party, with Remainers and arch Brexiteers entirely at odds as to how she should now proceed.

To cling on to power May will need the support of more than 50% of the 315 Conservative MPs to stay in office - 158 in total.

However a significant mutiny could make her leadership untenable. May's harshest critics supported her remaining leader, arguing a leadership race now would have been too disruptive.

She added: "None of that would be in the national interest".

She also has to face the Commons at what may prove to be her last session of Prime Minister's Questions at noon.

May promised MPs that she would step down as leader before the next election, slated for May 2022.

On Monday, May pulled a parliamentary vote on her widely maligned Brexit deal with the European Union, acknowledging it would have been defeated by members of the Commons.

They echoed the prime minister's message that airing their divisions in public would undermine voters' trust in the Tory party - and it would be hard for any new leader to change the course of Brexit before the March 29 date on which Britain is due to leave the EU.

"That must start here in Westminster with politicians on all sides coming together and acting in the national interest".

He resigned his Cabinet position in July in protest over May's Brexit plan, which he denounced as too soft and has since then eviscerated her exit strategy in regular columns for the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Enough Tory MPs have requested a vote of confidence in Theresa May to trigger a contest which will take place tonight.

Former Prime Minister John Major said on Tuesday that Britain must revoke its divorce notice immediately. "The public want us to sort £Brexit now!"

The European Parliament's Brexit point man, Guy Verhofstadt, could not contain a note of annoyance, tweeting: "Once again, the fate of EU-U.K. relations, the prosperity of businesses & citizens' rights are consumed by an internal Conservative party catfight over Europe".

Prospective leadership contenders are former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, home secretary Sajid Javid, and worldwide development secretary Penny Mordaunt.

  • Anthony Vega