(BBC) – UK Prime Minister Theresa May faces a vote of confidence in her leadership later after 48 of her Conservative MPs called for one to be held.
But a defiant Mrs May vowed to contest the vote “with everything I have got”.
She warned that a new prime minister would be faced with the choice of “delaying or even stopping Brexit”.
A majority of Tory MPs have publicly said they will back the PM in the vote, which runs for two hours from 18:00 GMT, but it is a secret ballot.
A result is expected fairly quickly after the voting finishes.
Mrs May is making a last-minute bid for support at a meeting of backbench Conservative MPs in Parliament. She was greeted with applause, and the traditional banging of desks, as she went in to the committee room.
A Conservative Party spokesman suggested part of her message to the MPs would be that the confidence vote was not “about who leads the party into the next election”, but about whether now was the right time for a change.
Can she survive the confidence vote?
Immediate statements of loyalty for the prime minister were issued by every member of her cabinet, including several who have been touted as possible successors.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Mrs May was “the best person to make sure we actually leave the EU on March 29”, while Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested the vote would “flush out the extremists” in his party whose Brexit agenda was “not in the interests of the British people”.
So far, 174 Tory MPs have publicly said they will vote for her, with 34 publicly against, according to BBC research. She needs to secure the votes of 159 MPs to survive.