Mrs May appeared defiant in a last-minute anouncement that saw her blast a leadership challenge announced early this morning, vowing to fight for her role as leader of the Tory Party and for a better Brexit deal for the country.
She said she would contest the vote of no confidence “with everything I’ve got”, adding she stood “ready to finish the job” when it comes to Brexirt.
She added: “I stood to be leader veause I believe in the Conservatice Party vision for a better future.”
She also said tearing the party apart “put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it”.
She said a new leader would have to extend the March 29 deadline for Britain’s exit from the EU.
She added: “A new leader wouldn’t be in place by Jan. 21 legal deadline, so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in Parliament.
She added: “A new leader wouldn’t have time to re-negotiate 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.”
Mrs May made a statement after news revealed Tory rebels got the 48 letters required for a leadership battle.
A ballot will take place tonight and Mrs May could be toppled if 158 of her 315 lawmakers vote against her.
Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee, said the threshold had been “exceeded” and Mrs May was eager to resolve the issue “rapidly”.
A vote will take place this evening at 6pm.
Bookies favourite Dominic Raab is favourite to take the role as Prime Minister at odds of 9/2 should Mrs May be ousted, followed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, both at 6/1.
But Brexiteers Michael Gove and Penny Mordaunt have announced they will back Mrs May in the vote, as well as Savid Javid and Jeremy Hunt.
But in a joint statement, the chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic Tory backbenchers Jacob Rees-Mogg and his deputy Steve Baker said: “Theresa May’s plan would bring down the Government if carried forward. But our party will rightly not tolerate it.
“Conservatives must now answer whether they wish to draw ever closer to an election under Mrs May’s leadership. In the national interest, she must go.”
The pound fell briefly in response to news of the challenge to Mrs May’s position, but later rallied.