David Davis supporters linked to Theresa May resignation plots
Theresa May’s position as Prime Minister is under fresh scrutiny after reports that allies of David Davis are planning to call on her to resign.
Mr Davis himself has described leadership speculation as “self-indulgent” but Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory chief whip and friend of the Brexit Secretary, is said to have told a dinner the Prime Minister was “dead in the water”.
Other reports claim that Davis-supporting MPs are pushing for Mrs May to stand down in the autumn.
“What a lot of colleagues have realised is that David is clearly the man. He can do Brexit and take on Jeremy Corbyn,” one Tory MP told the Sunday Times.
“If she doesn’t want two years of the most abject misery, she should read the tea leaves and take action at conference.”
The same newspaper claims Mr Mitchell told MPs who had approached him and urged Mr Davis to run to “lie down in a darkened room and then take a holiday”.
But the Mail on Sunday says the former minister had said at a private dinner party for Tory MPs that the Conservatives needed a new leader.
“Mr Mitchell effectively said she was dead in the water,” a Tory MP told the paper.
“He said she was weak, had lost her authority, couldn’t go on and we needed a new leader. Some of us were very surprised and disagreed with him.”
Mr Mitchell described the Mail on Sunday’s report as “overheated”.
Elsewhere, Tory backbencher Nicholas Soames has described as “grossly irresponsible” claims that some pro-Brexit backbenchers would be willing to risk Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister in order to secure a change in leadership.
One Brexiteer told the Mail on Sunday: “If replacing Mrs May safeguards Brexit and risks Corbyn getting in to No 10, it’s not as bad as losing Brexit. A brief dose of a Left-wing Government is not the end of the world. In the 1970s it spawned our greatest PM, Margaret Thatcher.”
Mr Soames responded: “It is grossly irresponsible talk by people who regard ideological purity as more important than the national interest.
“Most Conservative MPs and party members are determined to rally behind Mrs May. Any Tory who thinks electing a proto-Marxist Government is better than losing a hard Brexit is barmy.”
Meanwhile, Mrs May will seek to mark her one-year anniversary in No 10 this week by publishing the Repeal Bill and making a speech on Tuesday to set out her plans for corporate reform.
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