Theresa May no confidence Brexit vote: Suffolk and Essex MPs react

EMMANUEL DUNAND  AFP  Getty Images

If May secures the backing of at least 159 MPs, she can not be challenged again for 12 months, under Conservative Party rules.

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

"I am pleased to have received the backing of my colleagues in tonight's ballot", she said. And she insisted a general election would not be "in the national interest".

"So here is our renewed mission, delivering the Brexit that people voted for, bringing the country back together, and building a country that truly works for everyone".

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: "I will be supporting Theresa May to continue as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister in today's vote". The final two contenders would then be put to the nationwide party membership in a postal ballot.

He said: "I have been asked how I will vote tonight".

The embattled leader toured European capitals on Tuesday (Dec 11) in an attempt to seek concessions on her Brexit deal, less than four months before the Mar 29 date when Britain is set to leave the European Union.

May has indicated she would step down before the next election, due in 2022.

Another Tory legislator, Nick Boles, tweeted: "She was unambiguous".

The prime minister that promised she would be strong and stable is instead at the top of a party that looks weak and chaotic at a vital time. "There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation", European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Mrs May has been prime minister since 2016, taking up the position shortly after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

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Theresa May has warded off a challenge to her leadership, winning a vote of confidence by 200 votes to 117.

May says any new Conservative leader would have to delay Brexit to renegotiate a deal with the EU.

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

After a day of high drama at Westminster, May defeated the challenge to her authority - but only after making an emotional pledge that she would not lead her party into the next general election.

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

May needed to secure at least 158 votes from the Conservatives to remain the leader of the party and managed to do so with a firm margin.

May said before the vote that it was "now clear" the backstop needs to be temporary, and that she was confident she could still win approval in Parliament for her withdrawal plan with further assurances from the EU.

Several Cabinet ministers - including those seen as potential leadership candidates - have this morning come out in support of May's leadership. That two-stage process, involving votes by lawmakers and party members nationwide, could take weeks. Allies insisted she would stay in post even if she won by a single vote.

May cancelled a trip to Dublin to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, to stay in London and battle for lawmakers' support.

Backbencher Anna Soubry said it was time for the prime minister to face down hardline Brexiters on the right of her party. "She must now bring her botched deal back to Parliament [for a vote] next week".

But Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP and global development secretary, posted on Twitter and said: 'The Prime Minister has my full support, not least because she has always done what she firmly believes is in the national interest.

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