Speaking to the journalist outside her Downing Street residence yesterday, May: “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.
“Whilst I’m grateful for their support, a significant number of colleagues did cast a vote against me, and I’ve listened to what they said.
“Following this ballot we now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and delivering a better future for this country.
May is in the European Council this Thursday to seek legal and political assurances from EU leaders on the backstop arrangement over the border between EU member state Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.
According to the law, the Uk is leaving the European Union on 29 March, regardless of whether there is a deal with the EU or not. Stopping Brexit would require a change in the law in the UK and the agreement f the rest of the EU, under the terms of Article 50.
However, the EU might agree to extend Article 50 if its leaders thought there was a chance the UK could end up staying through another referendum, but it would only be by a few months.