Facing almost certain defeat for the Brexit deal she spent over two years negotiating, British Prime Minister Theresa May now faces an even more immediate challenge: rebellion from within. Ms. May will face a motion of no confidence tonight after 48 members of her Tory party opted to contest her leadership.
Pro-Brexit members of her Tory party have been trying to gather support to topple May for almost a month, but revolt gathered steam after she failed to even bring a vote on her exit deal earlier this week.
To survive as prime minister, May needs to secure a majority of votes (158 out of 315 MPs) from within her party. Balloting will take place in secret–heightening speculation that those too tepid to come out against her in public will willingly do so under the cloak of anonymity. If May loses, a leadership election will play out over the coming weeks to replace her as prime minister. If she wins, party rules say she can't be challenged for another year.
The attempt to oust May is the final shot for the rebellious wing of the Tory party which favors a deeper split from the EU. If only because of its desperation, it may be doomed to fail. But even if May survives she'll do so weakened and without a clear path toward delivering on Brexit.
A holiday kicker: The vote of no confidence is scheduled to take place just hours after the Tory party's yearly Christmas party. Come for the holiday cheer, stay for the political betrayal.