A slew of ministerial resignations over the draft UK-EU Brexit deal has put even more pressure on embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Is a leadership challenge on the cards?
British Prime Minister Theresa May battled to save her draft Brexit deal Thursday. After several high-profile resignations from her Cabinet, she could now face a fight to save her premiership if a leadership challenge is called.
What needs to happen?
A challenge can be triggered if 15 percent of the Conservative MPs write a letter to the chairman of the influential “1922 Committee” [the parliamentary group of all backbench Conservative lawmakers] demanding a vote of confidence in the leader. The party currently has 315 MPs, so 48 would need to submit such letters.
Have any done so already?
Leading euroskeptic Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg submitted his letter of no confidence on Thursday. “It is of considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place. Regrettably, this is not the situation,” he wrote.
Although lawmakers do not have to reveal their intentions, a total of 14 MPs have publicly confirmed they have sent their letter. Others may have also already done so privately. Only the chair of the committee, Graham Brady, knows the exact number.
What happens during a confidence vote?
Once the required number of no confidence letters is reached, Brady would announce a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. All Conservative MPs can vote, either in favor of or against the leader staying on. May would need a simple majority to win. That would currently mean 158 votes.
What happens next?
In the event of a victory, she remains in office and gets immunity from another formal challenge for a year. If she loses, she has to resign and is barred from standing in the ensuing leadership election. Her successor would also become prime minister. A general election would not automatically be triggered.