LONDON (Rahnuma): Theresa May on Wednesday vowed to fight on as the British prime minister just less than an hour after the announcement of a vote of no confidence in her later in the day, saying that “I stand ready to finish the job” of Brexit, which will see the UK leave the European Union (EU) in March next year.
May made the statement as she was addressing the media outside 10 Downing Street in response to the announced vote.
“I will contest leadership vote with everything I have got,” she said.
Graham Brady, the head of the so-called 1922 Committee, said that the required threshold 48 letters from members of parliament needed to trigger a vote of confidence in party leadership has been reached.
The vote by Conservative Party members will be held between 1800 GMT and 2000 GMT, and the results will be “announced as soon as possible in the evening.”
May needs 158 votes to win, and if she does, there can not be another challenge for a year.
If she loses, she must resign and a party leadership contest is held in which she is barred from running. All other Conservative members of parliament can run.
At least 107 Tory conservative members of parliament publicly pledged to support May in the upcoming vote of no confidence, according to the latest Sky News tally.
Three key cabinet members — Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire — on Wednesday voiced their support for the prime minister.
“The last thing the country needs is a damaging and long leadership contest,” Javid said. “PM has my full support and is best person to ensure we leave EU on 29 March.”
A change of leadership now would create uncertainty “when we can least afford it,” May said, adding that the first act of a successor if she loses would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, the mechanism that started the two-year countdown to Britain leaving the EU on March 29, 2019.
May said she has devoted herself unsparingly to delivering Brexit, concluding: “I stand ready to finish the job.”
The vote announcement came as May is in the middle of her Europe trip to save her Brexit deal after she on Monday postponed a crucial vote in the House of Commons on the deal reached by London and Brussels last month.
The prime minister kicked off a whistle-stop tour of The Hague, Berlin and Brussels to save the withdrawal agreement against a backdrop of a renewed leadership threat at home.
May said that she is seeking the EU’s assurance on the backstop arrangement in the Brexit deal to avoid the harder border between Britain’s Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The prime minister told the House of Commons Monday that she decided to put off the parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal after acknowledging “the deal would be rejected by a significant margin.”
The prime minister indicated on Tuesday that she only expected to present her new package to a hostile parliament before a self-imposed deadline of Jan. 21, extending the uncertainty for all sides.
Amid the uncertainty, the pound dipped briefly below 1.25 U.S. dollars, hitting its lowest level since April 2017.
In Brussels on Monday, European Council President Donald Tusk said he had called a meeting of the council to discuss Brexit on Thursday and that the EU “will not renegotiate the deal including the backstop but is ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification.”