Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote on Tuesday night (12 December) but it came at a heavy price, as she lost the support of almost 40% of her Conservative MPs and the opposition hinted it may soon mount its own challenge against her.
The Prime Minister's statement came about an hour after it was confirmed the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, had received the 48 letters of no confidence from Tory MPs required to trigger a ballot on the leadership.
Solicitor-General Robert Buckland said Mrs May told politicians at a meeting that "it is not her intention to lead the party in the 2022 general election".
Remain supporting, long-time May ally, and Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd said, "The PM has my full support".
"As the March deadline moves closer for Britain to leave the European Union and urgency builds up, Parliament may have no choice but to vote a deal through, with the alternative being a no-deal Brexit which I don't think anyone wants", Nelson said.
May's bigger problems with Brexit remain intact. Mrs May has been travelling round Europe trying to get changes to the backstop to support her argument it will not last indefinitely. However, as The Independent explained, if more than 100 party members vote against her, May's authority could be irrevocably damaged and she may face pressure from Cabinet ministers to step down regardless.
According to the BBC's Brussels Correspondent Adam Fleming, "EU leaders are considering a commitment to continue negotiating a trade deal with the United Kingdom even if the Irish backstop comes into force - to prove that they want it to be temporary". They complained that the vote should have been held the following Monday to give them a chance to campaign among colleagues and agree on a candidate to challenge May.
But it also risks either a general election, in which a divided Conservative Party could do very badly-and they would be hard pressed to support a prime minister they disagree with on the main political question of the generation-or an anti-Brexit coalition that could enact a second referendum.
She won the secret ballot of MPs by 200 to 117, having needed a simple majority of 159 votes to survive.
Adding, "there will be no agreement on this deal in the House of Commons".
Iain Duncan Smith with his wife Betsy outside Conservative Party central office after losing a confidence vote of Tory MPs in 2003
Meanwhile, Mrs May said she will be showing European Union leaders the "legal assurances" she believes MPs want before they will back her deal.
"It's all about clarification tonight", said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
If she had lost the vote, she would have had to vacate her seat as leader of the Conservative Party and eventually exit office as prime minister.
May was reportedly greeted with applause, and the traditional banging of desks as she went into a House of Commons Committee Room reserved for the vote to address her MPs before they began casting their ballots.
This would be the "nuclear option" and could see scores of Tory MPs losing their seats in a subsequent election, possibly leading to a future schism that would see the Conservative party split into many factions.
Mrs May say Wednesday morning that removing her as party leader could result in "extending or rescinding Article 50 - delaying, or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it".
Afterwards, Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said the result was "terrible" for the Prime Minister, and that she should nevertheless resign.
While the backstop would mean that no hard border emerged on the island of Ireland, it would also mean the United Kingdom stayed in the EU's customs territory with no obvious exit strategy and would require checks on goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, something unpalatable to many Conservative MPs.
As it stands, the United Kingdom and the European Union are at a political impasse, and the current Brexit withdrawal agreement will not win approval in Parliament. "We will have to back her as best we can", Mr Raab told the BBC.
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