British Prime Minister Theresa May will face a vote of no confidence in her government, the head of a Conservative Party committee in charge of organising leadership challenges said on Wednesday.
Graham Brady, chairman of the party’s so-called 1922 committee, said the threshold of 48 letters for a vote had been exceeded, Al Jazeera reported.
A ballot will be held between 1800-2000G on Wednesday in the House of Commons and an announcement made as soon as possible afterwards, Brady said.
The decision on May’s future as prime minister will be made later on Wednesday in the House of Commons as Britain’s planned divorce from the European Union was plunged into chaos on Monday when she pulled a parliamentary vote on her widely criticised EU withdrawal plan.
By doing so, May acknowledged her plan would have been rejected by the UK’s lower chamber House of Commons.
Wednesday’s leadership challenge could possibly lead to a general election, a second Brexit referendum, a substantially renegotiated deal or no-deal Brexit.
May travelled to several European capitals on Tuesday for talks with EU leaders aimed at seeking agreement to amend the deal.
However, EU President Donald Tusk has warned the EU would not change the deal which was brokered after months of tortuous negotiations between May and EU counterparts.
“We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification,” he said in a tweet early on Monday evening.
“As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario,” he added.
On Tuesday, the European Parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said May’s decision to delay the parliamentary vote and return to Brussels demonstrated Brexit had become a “mess”.
“My two messages: we’ll never let down Ireland; it’s out of the question to renegotiate the backstop & if you are looking for a closer future relationship to avoid the backstop, this will be no problem with us,” Verhofstadt said in a tweet.
At the heart of the ongoing contention is the “backstop” proposal, a safety net provision which guarantees no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the event post-Brexit trade negotiations between the UK and the EU prove unsuccessful.
The clause proposes that the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland, will remain in a customs union with the EU “unless and until” the bloc agrees there is no prospect of a return to a hard border.
But critics in the UK parliament argue that the measure could tie Britain into the EU’s orbit indefinitely.
Earlier this week, the European Court of Justice said the UK could revoke Article 50 – the exit clause in the EU’s constitution – “in accordance with its own national constitutional requirements”.
“Such a revocation … would have the effect that the United Kingdom remains in the EU under terms that are unchanged as regards its status as a Member State,” the court said.
The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29 next year, two years after it triggered Article 50 and kick-started negotiations with European leaders over a divorce deal.