Prime Minister Theresa May is battling to hold onto her leadership after Tory rebels triggered a vote of no confidence over her handling of Brexit. Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, confirmed this morning he had received the 48 letters required to trigger the leadership challenge. A ballot being held tonight between 6pm and 8pm in the Commons could see Mrs May ousted as Conservative leader. But the Prime Minister remains defiant in the face of huge opposition, saying her removal could delay Brexit.
What will vote mean for BREXIT? Will Brexit be delayed?
Theresa May has threatened her opponents that Brexit could be delayed or postponed indefinitely if she is toppled from power.
Speaking outside Downing Street, Mrs May said: “A new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through Parliament by March 29.
“So one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it.”
At present, the UK is scheduled to exit the European Union on March 29, 2019 at 11pm.
But Mrs May has suggested this could all change if her opponents get their way.
She said: “A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now would put our country’s future at risk.
“The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate… so one of their first acts would have be extending or rescinding article 50
“The Conservatives must not be a single issue party.”
The Prime Minister’s stark warning was backed by Justice Secretary David Gauke.
He told BBC Radio 4 Today Britain will be thrown into “chaos” if Mrs May goes tonight.
The Cabinet minister said: “In terms of negotiating any type of arrangement with the European Union, I think it is inevitable that if she were to lose the vote tonight there would need to be a delay in Article 50.
“I don’t think we would be leaving the European Union on the 29th of March.”
But Brexiteer Tory MP Bernard Jenkin downplayed the fears on social media.
He tweeted: “The UK changed Prime Minister in May 1940 – in the middle of a monstrously greater national crisis than this.
“If it has to be done, it has to be done.”