The UK leadership challenge Preview: The end of the Dancing Queen

FAVOURITE The odds put Boris Johnson in the lead to take the top job

FAVOURITE The odds put Boris Johnson in the lead to take the top job

Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote with 200 out of 317 Tory MPs supporting her to stay on as leader.

May's victory, "means she can not be challenged for another year, closing the route to a no deal outcome via Brexiteer victory in a Conservative party leadership election and a change in government policy".

"She was very clear that she won't be taking the General Election in 2022", said United Kingdom work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd.

The leadership challenge marks a violent eruption of the Conservative Party's decades-long divide over Europe and throws Britain's already rocky path out of the European Union, which it is due to leave on March 29, into further chaos.

Speaking after the win, she said: 'This has been a long and challenging day, but at the end of it I'm pleased to have received the backing of my colleagues in tonight's ballot.

Her trade minister, Liam Fox, said the government might not even put it to a vote unless the European Union gave more reassurances on the so-called Irish "backstop", an insurance policy aimed at preventing border controls on the island of Ireland.

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Europe's key power brokers have said they are unwilling to renegotiate the legally binding agreement that has been agreed to by Mrs May's government and the bloc's other members, although some leaders have indicated a willingness to consider statements that might make it easier for Mrs May to persuade the reluctant Parliament to pass the plan.

Fresh challenges await the Prime Minister today as she travels to Brussels for an EU Summit to ask fellow leaders for assurances that the backstop will never be used. This is the vote that was originally scheduled for Tuesday night, but which the prime minister pulled from the schedule after recognising that MPs would reject the deal if they considered it then.

But other leaders arriving on Thursday emphasised that whatever assurances are given they can not contradict the deal that Mrs May agreed last month.

However, the scale of the no-confidence vote in her leadership and her pledge to stand down before the next election means the race to replace her will now start in earnest. If given a dose of truth serum, most Labour MPs would say they would scrap any talk of Brexit altogether.

But Corbyn is keen to keep up attacks on the government, amid pressure from grassroots activists to fight Brexit - and there is nothing to stop the party tabling subsequent motions, if it loses.

According to the unnamed source a "considerable number of Tory MPs" desperate to remove May, and could also back the opposition in a last-ditch attempt to get the party to install a new leader, the Huffington Post reports.

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He made the comments after a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Responding to Wednesday's vote, May once again fell back on trusted phrases, saying she was determined to "get on with the job".

A former Bank of England employee and daughter of a Church of England pastor, May has been widely praised for a punishing work ethic and dedication to duty, but her premiership has been characterised by obduracy in the face of crises.

Asked whether he was willing to risk a no deal Brexit by refusing to bend over the backstop, he pointed out it was "within the gift of the United Kingdom to take no deal off the table".

DUP leader Arlene Foster, who met May shortly before the vote, insisted "tinkering around the edges" of the PM's deal would not be enough to win her party's support for the PM's Brexit deal.

If Mrs May can not secure legally-binding changes to her deal and it falls in the Commons, she has pledged to bring forward a motion by January 21 laying out what she will do next.

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The leadership challenge was formally launched on December 12, days after May cancelled a landmark parliamentary vote on the agreement she struck with European counterparts last month. We need to give her our full support so she can get back to delivering for the country, get out to Europe, and bang the table for the United Kingdom... "But the problem is that both in relation to Brexit and..."

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