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May heads to Netherlands, Germany in bid to save Brexit deal

12 December 2018, 11:59 | Vera Richards

'It's better than no deal': Do Brits in Europe hope Theresa May wins Brexit vote?

Factbox Britain's Brexit vote- How many lawmakers are backing PM May

The Conservatives' mechanism for initiating leadership elections is triggered if 15 percent of MPs write a letter to a group called the 1922 Committee, indicating they have no confidence in the leader.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a media statement in Downing Street, London, confirming there will be a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party, Wednesday Dec. 12, 2018. The result is due around 9 pm (2100 GMT). And today's vote flies in the face of giving her the chance to finish the job.

May, 62, who voted to remain in the European Union at a 2016 referendum, told opponents of her European Union withdrawal deal - struck after two years of negotiations - that if they toppled her, then Brexit would be delayed or stopped.

Briefing EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, France, on this week's leader's summit, Juncker said Tuesday that "there is no room whatsoever for renegotiation" of the divorce deal. At the moment the European Union is insisting that it can offer only political clarification on its intention to agree a trade deal with Britain.

A majority of the Conservatives' 317 MPs voted in support of May's leadership during the secret ballot, held within the United Kingdom parliament's lower chamber House of Commons on Wednesday evening.

"She said that she did not intend to lead us into the 2022 election", lawmaker Alec Shelbrooke said, adding "her opening remarks were, "I am not going to hold a snap election".

To jeers from Conservative MPs, the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford called on the prime minister to resign.

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Her whistle-stop tour came on the day that British lawmakers had been scheduled to vote on Brexit.

May's decision to pull the vote on her Brexit deal enraged MPs who oppose the accord she reached in Brussels. This further infuriated MPs on all sides of Parliament, who accused the Prime Minister of holding the chamber in contempt by denying it a vote.

Hunt replaced Johnson as foreign minister in July and has urged the Conservative membership to set aside their differences over Brexit and unite against a common foe: the EU.

The no-confidence vote could suggest Britain is one step closer to dropping out of the European Union in March with no deal, a worst case scenario that most economic commentators, including the Bank of England, say would lead to a recession.

"The last thing our country needs right now is a Conservative party leadership election", tweeted Home Secretary Sajid Javid, tipped as a future leader.

Her colleagues will choose two new candidates, and they will then be put to party members for a vote (though they have the option of just presenting one candidate, who would automatically win). Then it would fall to her successor to try to sort out Britain's Brexit mess.

She could still face a challenge in Parliament if the opposition Labour Party seeks a broader non-confidence vote in the House of Commons.

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All Conservative MPs can vote.

Many say the conditions under the prime minister's deal are worse.

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

They echoed the prime minister's message that airing their divisions in public would undermine voters' trust in the Tory party - and it would be hard for any new leader to change the course of Brexit before the March 29 date on which Britain is due to leave the EU.

"The deal that we have achieved is the best deal possible, it is the only deal possible", he reiterated.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading pro-Brexit Conservative, expressed despair at the Brexit shambles.

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