After May asks for help, Germanys Merkel says no more Brexit negotiations

Theresa May says she will fight a no-confidence vote with

Britain could get its third prime minister in just two-and-a-half years if current leader Theresa May loses a vote of no-confidence within her Conservative Party.

British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside 10 Downing Street in central London, after winning a confidence vote, on December 12, 2018. It comes days after May postponed a vote to approve the divorce deal to avoid all-but-certain defeat. She said she has listened to them and that it is now time to get on with delivering Brexit.

While Conservative former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson previously said he did not think his letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister had reached the mark.

However, her motives are derived from her desire to stop Brexit.

Speaking outside her Downing Street residence, May said she would fight for her job with everything she has got.

After Tory backbenchers chose to "take back control" of their party leadership, they will know that any replacement PM would face the exact same Parliamentary arithmetic and the exact same deadlock over Brexit.

The prime minister still faces a battle to get the Brexit deal she agreed with the European Union through the UK Parliament, with all opposition parties and, clearly, dozens of her own MPs against it.

But business figures expressed alarm at the prospect of even more political uncertainty.

"At one of the most pivotal moments for the United Kingdom economy in decades, it is unacceptable that Westminster politicians have chosen to focus on themselves, rather than on the needs of the country", said Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce. That's the 15 per cent of Conservative legislators needed to spark a leadership challenge under party rules.

Theresa May will be at the will of Conservative MPs in the poll, which will take place between 6pm and 8pm tonight (Wednesday).

And Medway council leader Alan Jarrett said he had lost confidence in the leader but did not want her to stand aside yet.

MP Jo Churchill, who has publically backed the Prime Minister, is said to have been the first to cast her vote this evening.

She will travel to Europe this week for crisis talks with European leaders in an attempt to rescue her deal, despite the EU maintaining it is not willing to reopen negotiations. It's possible that under the newly centralised party membership system, a ballot could be held by email, but many members would want a postal vote.

The magic number to win was 159 votes, however, the margin of victory is unlikely to silence her critics and deep divisions over the terms of the UK's departure from the European Union remain.

She insisted she would stay on to "finish the job" she has set herself as Prime Minister.

In her statement delivered early on Wednesday morning, May said: "A leadership election would not change the fundamentals of the negotiation or the Parliamentary arithmetic".

To cling on to power May will need the support of more than 50% of the 315 Conservative MPs to stay in office - 158 in total.

Brexit-backing International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt posted: "The Prime Minister has my full support, not least because she has always done what she firmly believes is in the national interest".

None of the PM's Brexit-backing critics took the opportunity to attack her, while there were strong words of support from backbenchers including Neil O'Brien (Harborough), who condemned "headbangers from all sides" for undermining her.

A string of Cabinet ministers, including some touted as possible replacements for Mrs May, have swiftly come out with statements of loyalty to her.

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