By Lydia O’Kane
Theresa May was in defiant mood as she spoke outside 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday after the vote was triggered by 48 of her Conservative party lawmakers. She told the assembled press she would fight the challenge with everything she’d got.
Many Conservative Members of Parliament have been angered with the Prime Minister over her handling of the Brexit negotiations, but delivering her statement, May warned that a change in leadership now would put the country and Brexit a risk.
"The new leader wouldn't have time to renegotiate a Withdrawal Agreement and get the legislation through Parliament by the 29th of March, so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit…”
The crunch vote will be held this evening beginning at 6pm UK time. If she loses Theresa May must step down and will become caretaker leader until a successor is chosen. But if wins, she can stay on and will be immune from a further challenge for another year.
Although lists of possible replacements have already been drawn up, many Tory MP’s are publicly backing her. The Prime Minister needs 158 votes to survive and results of the ballot should be known after 8pm UK time.