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STAGE SET FOR THE BIG FIGHT AT 5PM

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BELGIUM-BRUSSELS-EU-SUMMIT by .
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the second day of EU summit

Conservative MPs too Twitter to fortify their positions. Cabinet ministers are in the fore front to support May while Jacob-Rees Mogg’s team turned heat on May.

BELGIUM-BRUSSELS-EU-SUMMIT by .
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the second day of EU summit

“I am backing tonight. Being PM most difficult job imaginable right now and the last thing the country needs is a damaging and long leadership contest. Brexit was never going to be easy but she is the best person to make sure we actually leave the EU on March 29,” said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

“My sincere request to colleagues: BREXIT IS NOT GUARANTEED and the British people will not forgive us if we fail to deliver it. All those who want to stop it are praying for a Conservative leadership contest. So don’t take the risk and back tonight,” Mr Hunt added in another Tweet.

At present 114 MPs came forward to support May. (at 1pm). The voting will take place at 5pm.

Prime Minister May’s full statement at No 10 below:  

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s remarks confirming she would contest the leadership challenge triggered on Wednesday.
BRITAIN-LONDON-THERESA MAY-NICOLA STURGEON by .
Prime Minister Theresa May with Scottish National Party (SNP) leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at 10 Downing Street in London. (Xinhua/Ray Tang) (swt)

“Sir Graham Brady has confirmed that he has received 48 letters from Conservative MPs so there will now be a vote of confidence in my leadership of the Conservative Party. I will contest that vote with everything I’ve got.

I have been a member of the Conservative Party for over 40 years. I’ve served it as an activist, counsellor, MP, shadow minister, Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister. I stood to be leader because I believe in the conservative vision for a better future. A thriving economy with nowhere and nobody left behind. A stronger society where everyone can make the most of their talents. Always serving the national interest. And at this crucial moment in our history, that means securing a Brexit deal that delivers on the result of the EU referendum. Taking back control of our borders, laws and money, but protecting jobs, our security and our — precious union as we do so. Through good times and bad over the last two years, my passionate belief that such a deal is attainable, that a bright future lies ahead for our country has not wavered.

EU Commission by Joel Rouse.
Prime Minister Theresa May with EU President Juncker.

And it is now within our grasp. I spent yesterday meeting chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Rutte, President Tusk and President Juncker to address the concerns that MPs have with the backstop, and we are making progress. I was due to travel to Dublin this afternoon to continue that work. But will now remain here in London to make the case for my leadership with my parliamentary colleagues.
A change in leadership in the Conservative party now would put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it.

A new leader wouldn’t be in place by the 21st of January legal deadline, so a leadership election risks handing control of the Brexit negotiations to opposition MPs in Parliament. The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by the 29th of March, so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it. And a leadership election would not change the fundamentals of the negotiation or the parliamentary arithmetic. Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division just when we should be standing together to serve our country. None of that would be in the national interest. The only people whose interests would be served are Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

The British people want us to get on with it and they want us to focus on the other vital issues that matter to them too — building a stronger economy, delivering first class public services and the homes that families need. These are the public’s priorities, and they must be the Conservative Party’s priorities too. We must and we shall deliver on the referendum vote and seize the opportunities that lie ahead. But the Conservatives must not be a single-issue party. We are a party of the whole nation — moderate, pragmatic, mainstream, committed to reuniting our country and building a country that works for everyone. The agenda that I set out in my first speech outside this front odor – delivering the Brexit people voted for, building a country that works for everyone – I have devoted myself unsparingly to these tasks ever since I became Prime Minister and I stand ready to finish the job.

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