UK Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that the no-confidence vote she faces later today could lead to Brexit being stopped altogether.
In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, May argued that the vote would delay the negotiations, while failing to resolve the division that lead her to delay a vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement earlier this week.
“A change of leadership in the Conservative party now would put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it. A new leader wouldn’t be in place by the 21st January legal deadline, so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in parliament,” said May in the speech.
“The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by the 29th March, so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it.
“And a leadership election would not change the fundamentals of a negotiation or the parliamentary arithmetic. Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart would only create more division, just as we should be standing together to serve our country. None of that would be in our national interest.”
Theresa May speech: Vote of no-confidence triggered
News broke this morning that the chairman of the 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady had received 48 letters from Conservative MPs, triggering a no-confidence vote in May as leader of the Conservative Party.
“Sir Graham Brady has confirmed that he has received 48 letters from Conservative MPs, so there will now be a vote of confidence in my leadership of the Conservative party. I will contest that vote with everything I’ve got,” said May.
She used the speech to reaffirm her message on Brexit, making it clear that she did not see stopping the process as an option, despite growing support for the idea.
“I stood to be leader because I believe in the Conservative vision for a better future. A thriving economy with nowhere and nobody left behind. A stronger society where everyone can make the most of their talents, always serving the national interest,” she said.
“And at this crucial moment in our history, that means securing a Brexit deal that delivers on the result of the EU referendum. Taking back control of our borders, laws and money but protecting jobs, our security and our precious Union as we do so.
“Through good times and bad over the past few years, my passionate belief that such a deal is attainable, that a bright future lies ahead for our country has not wavered, and it is now within our grasp.”