Without her UK goes into chaos: May will face vote of confidence between 6pm and 8pm
Speaking in Downing Street, the prime minister announced she would contest the no-confidence vote of all Tory MPs tonight “with everything I’ve got”.
And, in a dramatic warning to her MPs not to desert her, she raised the prospect of a new leader being forced to delay or annul Brexit, because they would not have time to negotiate a new deal.
A new leader wouldn’t be in place by 21 January legal deadline... wouldn’t have time to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement
Sir Graham released a statement saying the threshold of 48 signatures – 15 per cent of the total number of Tory MPs – “has been exceeded”.
The contest will be staged between 6pm and 8pm this evening, when all 315 Conservative MPs will vote on whether they believe Ms May should continue.
The prime minister requires 158 supporters to survive – after which there cannot be another contest for one year – although rejection by more than 100 Tory MPs could damage her fatally.
May urged her MPs to recognise that forcing her out would “put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it”.
She argued: “A new leader wouldn’t be in place by 21 January legal deadline, so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in parliament.
“The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by 29 March, so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it.” ■