Britain's May to face no-confidence vote by MPs

By JILL LAWLESS , Associated Press
Theresa May in Berlin on Tuesday for a visit to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

LONDON - Conservative lawmakers in Britain will hold a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday that will see her removed as party and government leader if she loses.

Graham Brady, who heads a committee overseeing Conservative leadership contests, said he had received letters from at least 48 lawmakers asking for a vote.

As a result, he said, "the threshold of 15 percent of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded."

Brady said the vote would be held in Parliament Wednesday evening, with the results announced soon after.

The announcement throws Britain's already rocky path out of the European Union, which is due to leave in March, into further chaos.

Many Tory lawmakers have been growing angry with May over her handling of Brexit, and the challenge comes days after she postponed a vote to approve a divorce deal with the EU to avoid all-but-certain defeat.

If she loses the confidence vote, May must step down and there will be a contest to choose a new leader. She will remain a leader, and prime minister until the successor is picked.

If she wins, she can't be challenged again for a year.

Supporters of Brexit say May's deal fails to deliver on the clean break with the bloc that they want.

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

But Cabinet colleagues rallied to May's support. Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted that a leadership contest, with Brexit little more than three months away, "will be seen as self-indulgent and wrong. PM has my full support and is the best person to ensure we leave EU on 29 March."

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