UK Prime Minister Theresa May will face a vote of confidence within her Conservative Party today, expected to be held between 1800 and 2000 GMT.
Ms May could be deposed as party leader, and thus as prime minister, if a majority of the party’s 315 MPs vote against her.
May has come under concerted pressure in recent weeks over a controversial Brexit deal that has provoked widespread pushback from opposition MPs, as well as some within her own party.
Despite this, the PM has pledged to continue to push for acceptance of the current Brexit deal if she wins today’s leadership challenge.
If she loses, the Conservative Party must elect a new leader. The 315 MPs will hold a series of ballots to whittle the group of potential leaders down to two, one of which will then be elected by the party’s 120,000 members. This process is expected to take at least three weeks and up to six weeks, during which time Ms May will remain as a lame duck prime minister.
A leadership change now will increase uncertainty around Brexit and cause further market jitters. Such an outcome would also increase the likelihood that Brexit will be delayed, although this would require agreement from the European Union.
Finally, regardless of which way the Tory leadership spill goes, the opposition Labour Party may well call a separate vote of confidence—one that could well bring down current the Conservative-led government and force fresh elections and cause further delays and uncertainty.
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Simon is the founder of Foreign Brief who served as managing director from 2015 to 2021. A lawyer by training, Simon has worked as an analyst and adviser in the private sector and government. Simon’s desire to help clients understand global developments in a contextualised way underpinned the establishment of Foreign Brief. This aspiration remains the organisation’s driving principle.