Britain's Theresa May survives leadership challenge
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a brush with political mortality Wednesday, winning a no-confidence vote by Conservative lawmakers that would have ended her leadership of party and country.
May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally that reflected the discontent within the party over her handling of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Despite the victory, Brexit remains her government’s biggest problem.
May is heading to Brussels to seek changes to her divorce deal from the European Union in order to make it more palatable to Parliament.
The balloting came after May’s Conservative opponents, who circled the weakened prime minister for weeks hoping to spark a no-confidence vote, finally got the numbers they needed to call one.
The result was announced to loud cheers from lawmakers gathered in the wood-panelled room where they had voted.
Under party rules, May cannot be challenged again for a year.
May had earlier vowed to fight for the leadership of her party and the country “with everything I’ve got,” and spent the day holed up in the House of Commons trying to win over enough lawmakers to secure a victory.
“A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now will put our country’s future at risk,” May said in a defiant statement outside 10 Downing Street.
She said that ousting her and a vote on her replacement — a process that could take weeks — could result in Brexit being delayed or even halted.