Confidence vote victory would still leave Theresa May with less authority

But Mrs May's decision to delay the vote sparked a fresh wave of speculation at Westminster about new letters of no confidence being submitted by Conservative MPs to the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told a meeting of lawmakers in the ruling Conservative party that she will not call a snap election before the next scheduled vote which is due in 2022, Alec Shelbrooke, a lawmaker who attended the meeting, told reporters.

The British leader, who earlier vowed to fight "with everything I've got", needs a majority of her MPs - 159 - to back her in the vote to remain in Downing Street.

The results of the vote will be announced at 9 p.m.

"We now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country", she said.

If she wins, there cannot be another challenge for a year.

Pro-Brexit lawmakers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker said in a joint statement that "in the national interest, she must go".

Votes will be counted immediately after the ballot, which is taking place between 6:00pm and 8:00pm (local time).

Why do members of the prime minister's own party want to sack her? .

"Being PM (is the) most hard job imaginable right now and the last thing the country needs is a damaging and long leadership contest".


On her way to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a bid to rescue her Brexit deal, May got trapped momentarily inside her vehicle.

May also warned that finding a successor - who would automatically become prime minister - "would mean either delaying or stopping Brexit". The 2016 referendum on the European Union was meant to heal these divides; instead, the narrow majority for Brexit, which the referendum delivered, only helped to tear the Conservatives further apart. Brady said that the party aimed to finish the first stage of any leadership contest - in which lawmakers vote to whittle down the field of contenders to two - before Parliament breaks for Christmas on December 20.

The ballot, which could topple the prime minister, comes two days after May canceled a vote in Britain's House of Commons on her deeply unpopular Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Nonetheless, the 62-year-old has proved to be a stubborn political survivor, hanging on to power amid fierce internal and external opposition, and despite a disastrous general election in June 2017. Javid tweeted that a leadership contest, with Brexit little more than three months away, "will be seen as self-indulgent and wrong".

The final two candidates are put to a vote of the full party membership across the country.

May spoke at the weekend to Tusk, Merkel and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, raising speculation they offered some hope of further concessions.

If the Brexit agreement is accepted by the U.K. Parliament, it must still be endorsed by the European Parliament before March 29.

Prospective leadership contenders are former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, home secretary Sajid Javid, and global development secretary Penny Mordaunt.

But she told Parliament on Monday "there will be no enduring and successful Brexit without some compromise on both sides of the debate".

The prime minister insists she has obtained the best deal the European Union is willing to give - and that a new prime minister won't fare any better. She started by sounding tough, by laying down a number of "red lines" about what she would or won't accept as part of the separation talks with the European Union.


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