After months of speculation, threats and promises from members of the parliamentary Conservative Party, the day is finally here. 48 letters of no confidence have been put in to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, and Conservative MPs will vote tonight to decide whether to keep Theresa May as their party leader. In order to remain as leader, Theresa May must have the support of a simple majority of the 315 strong parliamentary party. If she were to win their support, she is safe as leader and immune from another challenge for 12 months. If she loses, she must resign as leader and cannot stand in the ensuing leadership contest, thus bringing her time as Prime Minister to a close. A win with less than 214 Conservative MPs (two thirds of the parliamentary party) will be considered a major blow to Theresa May's authority but it is likely that she will still stay on.
Our initial estimates, based upon declarations from MPs online, suggest that Theresa May does indeed have the support of her parliamentary party. Given that the ballot will be held in secret, it is certainly 'too close to call' at the moment although it does look likely that Theresa May will secure the backing that she needs to remain in post as party leader. The vote is expected to be held at 6pm tonight and the result should be known by about 8pm.