UK lawmakers have triggered a leadership contest thus necessitating parliament to hold a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May. The vote will occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday and results will be available by 10 p.m.
If she loses, Theresa May will have to resign as leader of the conservative party and Prime Minister in effect. Her removal will force new party elections to replace her but won’t trigger any premature general elections.
Graham Brady, who heads a committee overseeing Conservative leadership contests, said he had received letters from at least 48 lawmakers asking for a vote.
As a result, he said, ‘the threshold of 15 percent of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded.’
Brady said the vote would be held in Parliament Wednesday evening, with the results announced soon after.
The announcement throws Britain’s already rocky path out of the European Union, which it is due to leave in March, into further chaos.
Many Tory MP’s have not agreed with May’s handling of Brexit, with many resigning in protest of the draft deal that the EU unanimously agreed to. The leadership challenge is the newest expression of the seething disconnect in the party over Brexit plans. Theresa May also recently postponed a vote to approve a divorce deal with the EU to avoid all-but-certain defeat, a move that poured fuel to the fire.
If she loses the confidence vote, May must step down and there will be a contest to choose a new leader. She will remain leader, and prime minister, until the successor is picked.
If she wins, she can’t be challenged again for a year.
Supporters of Brexit say May’s deal fails to deliver on the clean break with the bloc that they want.
Pro-Brexit legislators Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker said in a joint statement that ‘in the national interest, she must go.’
But Cabinet colleagues rallied to May’s support. Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted that a leadership contest, with Brexit little more than three months away, ‘will be seen as self-indulgent and wrong. PM has my full support and is best person to ensure we leave EU on 29 March.’
The last thing our country needs right now is a Conservative Party leadership election. Will be seen as self-indulgent and wrong. PM has my full support and is best person to ensure we leave EU on 29 March— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) December 12, 2018
May has said she won’t be scampering anywhere but will stand and face the arising challenges.