Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has gathered enough signatures to go ahead with a no confidence vote against UK Prime Minister Theresa May over her draft Brexit deal with the European Union.
Four more Conservative lawmakers in Parliament submitted letters expressing no confidence in May’s leadership on Friday, as members of her own party plotted to unseat her.
According to British media, the party has received letters from the required 48 Tory lawmakers.
May’s statement to Parliament on Thursday to explain the terms of the divorce deal with the EU was met with a torrent of opposition.
Members of Parliament (MPs) from all parties lined up to say they would reject it, but the attacks on her own side were particularly brutal.
One Conservative MP, Andrew Bridgen, directly asked her to resign.
May conceded that Brexit required "difficult choices" but insisted the deal she had agreed after months of negotiations was in "the national interest."
She paid tribute to the work of her Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, one of two cabinet ministers who earlier quit over the deal. He was followed by several junior colleagues, prompting speculation the entire government could collapse.
Raab resignation has thrown May’s premiership into its most perilous crisis to date. However, she has defiantly vowed to stay on as prime minister.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told parliament: "The government is in chaos." He outlined his critique of the Brexit deal as Conservative MPs behind May sat in silence.
Nigel Dodds of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Northern Irish party on whom May relies for her majority, also pulled no punches in his warning that Britain must not become a "vassal state" of the EU.
In her attempts to persuade MPs to back the agreement, May warned eurosceptics that rejecting it could lead to "no Brexit at all".
The UK leader’s aides said that rejecting the draft deal can lead to a snap election in which Labour would take office and hold a second referendum on Brexit.
There were some voices backing the prime minister. The Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom was among May’s supporters, saying she was "determined to support her."
More than two years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, it is still unclear how, on what terms or even if the world’s fifth largest economy will leave the bloc as planned on March 29, 2019.
Several possible scenarios for Britain include May’s deal ultimately winning approval; May losing her job; Britain leaving the bloc with no agreement; or even another referendum.