Theresa May has been forced to make a public response to growing speculation that unrest within the Conservative Party will bring about a vote of no confidence in the near future. The prime minister arrived in China and told journalists that she is “not a quitter” and will go on to fight in the next general election, in 2022. Her comments come after a number of recent public statements from MPs expressing varying degrees of doubt over her leadership of the party.

In order for May to face a vote of no confidence, Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, must receive letters of request from 15% of sitting Conservative MPs, which, given the current parliamentary make-up, means 48 letters. The 1922 Committee is a highly influential group of backbench MPs within the Conservative Party that handles internal party democracy.

Reports vary on the exact number of letters Brady has received so far, with some newspapers claiming that it could be as many as 45. Even if the number is considerably less, the accumulative nature of the process, coupled with the difficult road May has ahead, means that without serious change, it’s a matter of not if a vote will be called, but when.

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