British Prime Minister Theresa May battled against a rebellion over her draft Brexit deal on Thursday, as ministers resigned and members of her own party plotted to oust her.
The Conservative leader, who was to hold a press conference this afternoon, tried to defend the proposed agreement before a hostile Parliament after four ministers, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, quit the government.
May insisted it was the best deal Britain could hope to strike when it leaves the European Union on March 29, warning that the only alternatives were leaving with no deal or not leaving at all.
But members of Parliament on all sides told her there was no way it could win their approval, with arch-Brexiteers and EU loyalists alike insisting it was already sunk.
ERG chief Jacob Rees-Mogg submitted a letter of no-confidence in the prime minister saying: "It would be in the interest of the party and the country if she were to stand aside."
At least 48 letters from Conservative MPs are required to trigger a vote of no-confidence in the party leader, but a majority of the party's 315 lawmakers would have to vote against May in order for her to be ousted.
Although other MPs have already sent letters, all eyes were on Rees-Mogg given his influence over Brexit supporting MPs. The MP told reporters that a challenge could be launched within weeks.
May had secured her Cabinet's "collective" approval for the agreement during a five-hour meeting on Wednesday and European leaders hailed the tentative deal.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "very happy" that the EU and Britain had reached a draft agreement but French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned the prospect of Britain crashing out without a deal was "still on the table."
In Brussels, EU President Donald Tusk said member states would have until Tuesday to examine the deal and to agree the wording of a parallel political statement setting out goals for the bloc's future relations with London.