British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to fight for her political future with “everything I’ve got” as the UK’s bid to depart the European Union descends into a deepening political crisis.
Members of May’s ruling Conservative Party on Wednesday reached the threshold of 48 demands needed to trigger a confidence vote in her leadership.
Their move came fewer than two days after the prime minister and party leader opted to pull a parliamentary vote on her widely maligned Brexit deal, acknowledging that it would have been defeated.
Wednesday’s poll will be held between 18:00-20:00 GMT. A result is expected to be announced shortly after.
May must win majority support among the Conservatives’ 315 Members of Parliament (MPs) to survive the vote. Failure to do so will mean she is forced to resign as party leader and will likely set out a date for standing down as prime minister.
She would be expected to stay on as interim prime minister until the Conservatives elect a new leader, a process that could take up to six weeks.
In a statement to reporters on Wednesday, May vowed to “contest the vote with everything I’ve got”.
The 62-year-old cautioned any new prime minister would need to scrap or extend Article 50 – the exit clause in the EU’s constitution – “delaying or even stopping Brexit”.
“A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now would put our future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it,” she said.
The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29 next year, two years after it triggered Article 50 and kick-started negotiations with European leaders over a divorce deal.