UK Prime Minister Theresa May arrives ahead of talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on December 11 2018. Picture: KRISZTIAN BOCSI/BLOOMBERG
UK Prime Minister Theresa May arrives ahead of talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on December 11 2018. Picture: KRISZTIAN BOCSI/BLOOMBERG

London — Legislators in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party on Wednesday triggered a confidence vote in her leadership after Britain’s planned divorce from the EU was plunged into chaos.

With less than four months left until the UK is due to exit on March 29, the world’s fifth-largest economy was tipping towards crisis, opening up the prospect of a disorderly no-deal divorce or a reversal of Brexit through a referendum.

Graham Brady, the chairman of the party’s so-called 1922 committee, said the threshold of 15% of the parliamentary Conservative Party seeking a confidence vote had been reached.

“The threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded,” Brady said.

A ballot will be held between 6pm and 8pm local time on Wednesday in a room at the House of Commons and an announcement made as soon as possible afterwards, he said.

“The votes will be counted immediately afterwards and an announcement will be made a soon as possible in the evening,” Brady said.

Brexit is Britain’s most significant political and economic decision since World War 2, although pro-Europeans fear it will divide the West as it grapples with the presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.

The ultimate outcome will shape Britain’s $2.8-trillion economy, have far-reaching consequences for the unity of the UK and determine whether London can keep its place as one of the top two global financial centres.

May could be toppled if 158 of her 315 legislators vote against her. 

Reuters