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article image48 letters to replace a Conservative leader

By AFP     Nov 16, 2018 in World

Members of British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative party are seeking to trigger a vote of confidence in her leadership.

She has confirmed she would fight any challenge, but if she loses, her successor would take over in Downing Street.

Here is what you need to know about the process:

- 48 letters -

A vote of confidence can only take place when requested by 15 percent of the Conservative parliamentary party -- currently 48 MPs.

They must submit letters to the MP who chairs the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, lawmakers who hold no ministerial office.

The current chairman, Graham Brady, will only confirm how many letters have been put in when the threshold is reached.

- Confidence vote -

Conservative MPs would decide the prime minister's fate by secret ballot.

If she wins -- a minimum of half the votes plus one -- she cannot be challenged again for a year.

But if she loses, a leadership contest follows in which she cannot stand.

- Leadership contest -

Candidates must be Conservative MPs and have the support of at least two colleagues.

Assuming there are several, Conservative MPs then vote in a series of secret ballots, eliminating the least popular candidate until two nominees remain.

The final pair are then put to a vote of Conservative party members, with hustings carried out across Britain over several weeks.

The process can go more quickly -- May won the leadership in July 2016 without a vote by party members after her rival, Andrea Leadsom, pulled out.

- Will this happen? -

Hardline eurosceptic MPs have long claimed to have the numbers to trigger a vote of no confidence, but have held off because they believe May would win.

They are calculating that the situation has now changed with the agreement of a Brexit deal with the European Union that many MPs oppose.

However, while many Conservative MPs are dissatisfied with May's leadership, replacing her now risks destabilising Brexit.

A new leader would still face the difficult circumstances that she has faced.

The Conservatives do not have a majority in the House of Commons, nor is there a majority of MPs from any political party for one vision of Brexit.

The parliamentary arithmetic will not change without a snap election, something many Tories oppose because of the fear of losing office to Labour.

More about Britain, Eu, Brexit, Politics, Conservatives
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