Theresa May defeats leadership challenge by 83 votes

Factbox Britain's Brexit vote- How many lawmakers are backing PM May

Lawmakers from British Prime Minister Theresa May party's will vote on whether to remove her from power Wednesday.

A majority of Tory MPs have publicly said they will back the PM in the vote, which runs for two hours from 18:00 GMT (7am NZT), but it is a secret ballot.

"We now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country", she said.

If the PM loses the vote, she would not be able to stand in the subsequent leadership contest.

The leadership challenge marks a violent eruption of the Conservative Party's decades-long divide over Europe and throws Britain's already rocky path out of the European Union, which it is due to leave on March 29, into further chaos.

In her speech following Brady's announcement, May also said a change of leader would wreak havoc on Britain's exit from the EU.

She said that ousting her and holding a leadership vote - a process that could take weeks - could result in Brexit being delayed or even halted.

If May loses, her successor would be chosen from existing Conservative MPs and would automatically become prime minister. The victor of the vote becomes Conservative leader and prime minister, without the need for a national election.

Gove said he backed May in the confidence vote. "If much more than 100 MPs vote against her then I think she is going to be struggling to remain for very long and would find it hard to get that deal through the House of Commons".

Parliament has until January 21 to vote on the deal, a little more than two months before Britain's March 29 departure date. A second-generation immigrant of Pakistani heritage, he has talked about having a portrait of former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on his office wall.

Since the resignation of former Brexit Secretary David Davis in the summer, May has come under increasing attack from cabinet colleagues, several of whom resigned in protest at her handling of negotiations with Europe, and a growing number of influential Conservative parliamentary members (MPs), who want to sever ties with the European Union without remaining in several key European Union arrangements.

May will first go to The Hague for talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte before meeting Merkel in Berlin, as she struggles to unite British lawmakers behind her faltering plan.

Now, having already been weakened by a snap election previous year which cost her a parliamentary majority, May also sees her own job at risk over Europe.

"It is a bad result for the prime minister", Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of a hard Brexit faction in the party, told BBC Television.

The final two candidates are put to a vote of the full party membership across the country.

"We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop", he tweeted, referring to the contested clause in the deal relating to Northern Ireland.

May cancelled a trip to Dublin on Wednesday to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar so she could stay in London and battle for lawmakers' support. If all Tory lawmakers cast ballots, May needs 158 votes to win, though a narrow victory could leave her weakened and under pressure to resign.

The vote of no-confidence in her leadership comes amid the widening chaos over the manner of the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

Earlier in the day, Mr Juncker told the European Parliament that there was "no room whatsoever for renegotiation" of the Withdrawal Agreement reached between the EU and United Kingdom last month.

Brady told the BBC he had spoken to the prime minister and noted she was "keen that matters be resolved as quickly as is reasonably possible".

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