May vows to fight leadership challenge

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her intention to fight to keep her job as leader of the Conservative Party “with everything I have got”.

A leadership contest could now go ahead, following a week of unprecedented turbulence at Westminster, if a majority of MPs back a Motion of No Confidence this evening.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. (PA Wire)

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. (PA Wire)

The move was triggered after it was confirmed that at least 48 Conservative MPs- the number needed - penned letters to the chairman of the Conservatives 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady saying they had lost confidence in May.

Ms May came out this morning vowing to defend her position just hours after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders on the continent yesterday.

“A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now will put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it,” she said.

“A leadership election risks handing control of Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in parliament.”

She said that this could lead to Brexit being delayed or event stopped.

“Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division just as we should be standing together to serve our country. None of that will be in the nationalist interest.”

She said she has been a member of the Conservative Party for over 40 years and had served it as an activist, Councillor, MP and leader.

May was due to meet An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Ireland today as part of a round of talks amid concerns among MPs over the backstop - designed to protect people and businesses north and south of the Irish border and peace on the island of Ireland - but is now believed to be staying put in London.

The talks come after May failed to convince enough MPs to back her Withdrawal Agreement ahead of a planned vote on Tuesday note, which she postponed at the Eleventh Hour, sparking anger among many in the House of Commons, including Brexiteers and others in her own party.

She is due to address MPs at 5pm today ahead of the vote tonight.