UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday told Conservative Party lawmakers that she won't run in the next general election - a stunning development as she faced a no-confidence vote in Parliament, Reuters reported. However, as The Independent explained, if more than 100 party members vote against her, May's authority could be irrevocably damaged and she may face pressure from Cabinet ministers to step down regardless.
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. If she does win, May can not face another such confidence vote for a year.
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".
Many lawmakers have been growing angry with May over her handling of Brexit.
The party membership would vote via a postal ballot on which of the two candidates should be party leader.
However, yesterday the prime minister dramatically called off the "meaningful vote", in the face of what had been expected to be a significant defeat at the hands of rebel MPs.
The ballot will be held in the House of Commons.
Many Tory lawmakers have been growing angry with May over her handling of Brexit, and the challenge comes days after she postponed a vote to approve a divorce deal with the European Union to avoid all but certain defeat.
May said the date for a new vote depended on fresh talks with European Union leaders, set to begin Tuesday in meetings with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague and then German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
"She said that she did not intend to lead us into the 2022 election", lawmaker Alec Shelbrooke said, adding "her opening remarks were, "I am not going to hold a snap election". "The prime minister must realize that, under all constitutional norms, she ought to go and see the queen urgently and resign".
Her whistle-stop tour came on the day that British lawmakers had been scheduled to vote on Brexit.
The Conservatives had to build a "country that works for everyone" and deliver "the Brexit people voted for".
The last batch of letters came in after May - facing a heavy defeat - sparked fury among MPs by delayed a parliamentary vote scheduled for Tuesday on the Brexit deal she agreed with European Union leaders last month.
The pound at 9am was 1.2530 dollars compared to 1.2523 dollars at the previous close after Graham Brady, the chairman of the party's so-called 1922 committee, said the threshold of 15 per cent of the parliamentary Conservative Party had been met. A confrontation over her leadership became inevitable early this week, when the premier suddenly chose to stop the ratification of the Brexit deal in Parliament, largely because she knew the deal would be decisively rejected by a large majority of MPs.
Supporters said the result showed the party should now get behind her.
Still, a victory by the narrowest of margins is unlikely to strengthen her authority.
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab are the bookmakers' favourites for the top job if May loses the confidence vote.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator, expressed his disbelief at the political chaos engulfing Westminster.
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