British Prime Minister Theresa May will face a vote of no-confidence in her government, the head of a Conservative Party committee in charge of organising leadership challenges said on Wednesday.Graham Brady, the head of the party committee in charge of elections, said the vote by Conservative Party lawmakers will be held between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Wednesday.
The results will be “announced as soon as possible in the evening,” he said.
If May loses that vote, a leadership election is held and, if a new party leader is elected, he or she becomes the new prime minister.
The fate of both her unpopular draft withdrawal agreement and her government are now in the balance with the clocking ticking down to Britain’s March 29 departure from the European Union after 46 years.
The no-confidence vote was triggered after months of plotting by Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs to collect the minimum 48 letters from MPs necessary to trigger a vote.
Several past members of May’s government — including former foreign minister Boris Johnson — have had their eyes on the premiership post.
If May survived the motion, no second one could be taken by party members for another year.
Several top members of her cabinet quickly rallied to her support.
“The last thing our country needs right now is a Conservative Party leadership election,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted.
Javid himself has been mentioned as a possible replacement for May.
“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,” Javid wrote.
Government in ‘disarray’
Even if May survives Wednesday’s vote and potential leadership challenge, she could face a no-confidence motion from opposition parties.
The main opposition Labour Party has said the government is in “disarray” but is so far holding off on attempting to topple May.
The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, which are both anti-Brexit, have urged Labour to do so and are hoping this could lead to a second referendum.
A few EU supporters within May’s own Conservative Party are also calling for another popular vote, while Brexit hardliners are urging fellow Conservatives to oust her.
A lot will hinge on what the Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 MPs prop up the government, will do.
The DUP have indicated they will not vote against May on a confidence motion for now but have demanded that she jettison the backstop.