UK PM Theresa May ends tour without EU Brexit concessions


Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May will face a vote of no-confidence triggered by her own party lawmakers over her controversial Brexit deal, as she vowed to fight it out with "everything I have got".

Had a majority voted against her, May would have been forced to resign as party leader and would have been expected to stand down as prime minister.

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.

If May loses the confidence vote - held as a secret ballot - then she can not stand again as leader.

The main sticking point since divorce negotiations began nearly two years ago is how to keep goods flowing seamlessly between European Union member Ireland and the U.K's Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May has secured indications of support from almost 200 of her lawmakers, which would be enough to ensure she wins a confidence vote on Wednesday, based on statements made to the media and on social media.

In a possible sign May might offer a date for resignation after Brexit, her spokesman said the vote would not be about who leads the party into the next election, due in 2022.

These two candidates are then put to a postal ballot of the wider Conservative Party membership.

"The UK changed prime minister in May 1940 - in the middle of a monstrously greater national crisis than this". EU leaders insist the mechanism can't be removed from deal, but May is sure to seek flexibility on this point from her European partners.

Asked if she had been informed the 48-letter requirement was met, the prime minister said: "No, I have been here in Europe dealing with the issue I have promised Parliament I would be dealing with".

"We have little time, but we still have time", the German leader said.

Gove said he backed May in the confidence vote.

"Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division", she said. I regret that a leadership contest has been triggered, but I respect my colleagues.

The U.K. leader is facing a no-confidence vote that will see her removed as party and government leader if she loses.

Both May's ruling Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party have pledged to implement the results of the 2016 referendum in which British voters backed exiting the European Union 52 percent to 48 percent.

A loud cheer erupted among MPs, as chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, announced: "The result of the ballot held this evening is that the parliamentary party does have confidence in Theresa May" - and confirmed that she could not now be challenged for another year. With EU officials adamant the withdrawal deal was not up for renegotiation, the country does not know on what terms it will leave - and whether May will still be Britain's leader when it does.

In a letter sent Wednesday morning, Brady confirmed the threshold had been reached.

May, who spent Tuesday touring European Union capitals to appeal for changes to sweeten her divorce deal for reluctant United Kingdom lawmakers, has until January 21 to hold a vote on the agreement in Parliament.

Two former Brexit secretaries, David Davis and Dominic Raab, presented what they called "a better deal", at a press conference in Westminster on Wednesday.

Environment secretary Michael Gove added, "I think the PM will win tonight and she will win handsomely". Then it would fall to her successor to try to sort out Britain's Brexit mess. She started by sounding tough, by laying down a number of "red lines" about what she would or won't accept as part of the separation talks with the European Union.