Theresa May is set to face a confidence vote in her leadership later tonight. The secret ballot to hold the vote was triggered after 15% of Conservative MPs expressed their lack of confidence in the prime minister in writing.
The first of these letters was received as far back in July. Should Theresa May win, her leadership cannot be challenged for another year.
Theresa May is arguing the stability of Brexit negotiations is at stake by ousting her from the job so close to the end.
In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, she said: “I will contest that vote with everything I’ve got.
“A leadership election would not change the fundamentals of the negotiation or the Parliamentary arithmetic.
“Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division just as we should be standing together to serve our country. None of that would be in the national interest.”
Many backbencher MPs have been expressing their support for the prime minister ahead of tonight’s ballot, with around 121 Conservative MPs publically supporting Theresa May on Twitter. This support is expected to rise throughout the day.
This is a significant figure which means the prime minister may only need 37 votes to secure her leadership, in order to reach the 158 vote threshold.
Who is likely to replace Theresa May?
Every political party has their own candidacy process for electing a new leader.
In the event that Theresa May is ousted by her MPs in tonight’s secret ballot, prospective candidates will put their names forward in the coming days.
Conservative MPs would vote on the candidates before it is passed onto the wider party membership.
So who are the front runners to replace Theresa May?
The former foreign secretary is arguably the front runner to replace Theresa May in the event of a vote of no confidence.
Mr Johnson served as the frontman of the Leave campaign in the Brexit referendum in June 2016, so his vision on how Britain should leave the EU would differ quite drastically from Theresa May’s current plans.
The controversial figure would likely favour an outright break from the EU instead. Despite being a high-profile figure in the media, his only obstacle may be gaining support from backbenchers.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is another high-profile Brexiteer who could find himself in a position to challenge the prime minister’s leadership.
Like Boris Johnson, Mr Rees-Mogg advocates for a clean break from the EU and heads the European Research Group of hard Brexiter MPs.
In the wake of the vote of no confidence letter, Rees-Mogg has led the opposition movement against Theresa May.
He was also one of the first high-profile MPs to write a letter of no confidence against the prime minister.
His leadership campaign would arguably cause a division within the party.
Sources close to David Davis said he is likely to put his name forward for the role of Prime Minister.
As former Brexit Secretary, David Davis is a well-known Leave supporter.
It comes as he launches his alternative Brexit pitch alongside Dominic Raab this morning in an attempt to sway support away from Theresa May.
His alternative Brexit deal scraps the controversial Northern Ireland backstop which many MPs have condemned. DUP leader Arlene Foster attended the launch of the alternative deal alongside Davis and Raab.
Other contenders include Sajid Javid who is one of the Remainers in the running, and Dominic Raab.
The vote takes place tonight between 6pm and 8pm, and the result is expected approximately an hour later.
Brig predicts that Theresa May is likely to maintain the support of her backbenchers in order to secure her leadership.
With many Conservative MPs already pledging their support to the Prime Minister, it is unlikely the former Brexit secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab will be able to turn their heads with their alternative plan.
The prime minister has said that Brexit would likely be delayed should she be removed as leader, as the process could be put on hold as the party selects a new leader.
Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, which leaves little time for further negotiations, and it is unlikely the alternative Brexit method would be accepted by the European officials, leaving a no deal a real possibility.