May warns 'Brexit bully' critics she will fight on if they try and oust her

Theresa May has warned her 'Brexit bully' critics she will fight on if they try to oust her - meaning rebels will need the backing of 159 Tory MPs to bring her down.

The Prime Minister has made clear she would contest any no confidence contest and would be content to win by just one vote, the Sunday Times reported today.

The intervention raises the stakes around Mrs May's future as it had speculated in Westminster she could quit if rebels gathered 48 colleagues to trigger a contest.

Mrs May is under acute pressure from Brexiteers amid suspicion she is seeking to negotiate a soft Brexit that keeps Britain close to the EU.  

Continued speculation over Mrs May's future as PM has triggered yet another round of jostling for position among the MPs and ministers who want to replace her. 

Theresa May (pictured today in Maidenhead) has warned her 'Brexit bully' critics she will fight on if they try to oust her - meaning rebels will need the backing of 159 Tory MPs to bring her down

Theresa May (pictured today in Maidenhead) has warned her 'Brexit bully' critics she will fight on if they try to oust her - meaning rebels will need the backing of 159 Tory MPs to bring her down

Cabinet rivals have been taking public pot shots at each other while working to build support behind the scenes inside the Tory Party in Parliament.

A senior Tory told the Sunday Times: 'Theresa thinks that if there is a vote of no confidence she has to win by only one vote.

'It's effectively saying to people, ''Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough''.' 

One senior source added: 'She's not going anywhere.'

Tory infighting over Brexit is due to come to a head this week as Mrs May takes her Cabinet to Chequers to try and finalise Britain's demands to Brussels. 

Friday's 'sleepover' at the PM's country retreat is supposed to finalise a White Paper on Brexit, spelling out policy goals on trade and customs.

Among the contenders seen as fighting for advantage is Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

It emerged today Mr Gove made a show of ripping up papers on future customs options in anger after his concerns about the proposals were downplayed. 

Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Chief Secretary Liz Truss (file images) have publicly clashed this week as Cabinet unity spectacularly broke down 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (left with the PM at Armed Forces Day yesterday) has been criticised by Tory colleagues for aggressive tactics 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (left with the PM at

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