May Heads to Second Showdown With U.K. Lawmakers in Three Days

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will face angry lawmakers in her Conservative Party for the second time in three days on Wednesday evening, as she addresses a private meeting about her Brexit negotiations.

The gathering of the 1922 Committee of rank-and-file Tory members of Parliament is a chance for them to challenge her strategy and for her to confront her critics.

Many Tories were furious last week after she floated the possibility of the U.K. staying bound to European Union for longer than previously planned. May argues it’s a possible way of winning the bloc round.

The embattled leader has struggled to shake off her critics since throwing away her majority in an election gamble last year. She’s typically weathered the storms by making a statement that somewhat mollifies would-be rebels, only for the process to repeat itself the next time she offers a compromise in talks with the EU.

Although only one person -- Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee -- knows how many lawmakers have submitted letters calling for a confidence vote in May, some Conservatives say privately that the number is close to the 48 needed to trigger a ballot. If May fails to convince at the meeting, it could push others over the edge into submitting their own letters.

Equally, if the mood in the room is loyal to May, those who want her gone could back away from action. If they push for a confidence vote and May wins it, she can’t be challenged for another year.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.