Tory backbenchers ‘to tell May to leave by end of June’
Disgruntled Brexiteers intensifying efforts to oust the Prime Minister
Disgruntled Conservative MPs will intensify their efforts to oust Theresa May from Downing Street, according to reports this morning.
The Daily Telegraph reports that May will be told to name the date of her departure or face being ousted in June after the party’s “patience with her finally ran out”.
The 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers is due to meet today. Its chairman, Sir Graham Brady, will reportedly warn the Prime Minister that the party will change its rules to make it easier to throw out unpopular leaders if they refuse to go.
The meeting is expected to agree that the minimum period between confidence votes in a leader should be cut from 12 months to six months. This would mean that May could be challenged on June 12, six months after she won a confidence vote by 200 votes to 117.
Meanwhile, ITV’s political correspondent Paul Brand reports a conversation he had with a member of the 1922 committee, stating that: “Rather than Easter seeing a rebirth of support for PM, this MP suggests the reverse has happened.”
A different MP said he thought it would be “sensible and logical” for Brady to pressure May to go soon. “She seems to be mainly staying on out of a sense of stubbornness,” the MP added.
Yet another disgruntled Tory MP said May will be told that she cannot “superglue herself to Downing Street like the eco-warriors”.
In a separate blow for the PM, she will face a symbolic no-confidence motion from a group representing Conservative grassroots members. The National Conservative Convention will call an emergency meeting to hear the motion next month after the necessary number of local party chairs signed a petition supporting the move.
Speculation over who would replace May is mounting once again, with a survey of party members for the Conservative Home website indicating that 32% want Boris Johnson - more than twice that of his nearest rival Dominic Raab on 15%.
The Guardian adds that since the Brexit deadline was pushed back until October 31st, the “political vacuum has immediately been filled by manoeuvres to remove May from No 10”.
Cross-party Brexit talks are due to resume today at the Cabinet Office, although there is little optimism on either side that the negotiations will result in a deal.
A Government team including David Lidington - May’s de facto deputy - and the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, will sit down with Barclay’s Labour shadow, Keir Starmer, and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.