Former minister Anna Soubry says Theresa May should ‘consider her position’
A former Tory minister has called on Theresa May to "consider her position" as the Conservatives lost their Commons majority at the general election.
Anna Soubry laid into the Prime Minister and her aides for running a “dreadful” election campaign rife with “appalling” messaging on key policy areas regarding social care and cutting free school lunches for kids.
It comes after former Chancellor George Osborne said he doubted that Mrs May could “survive” in the long term with the Tories on course to fall shy of the 326 needed to earn a majority.
Speaking to BBC News, a clearly frustrated Ms Soubry declared: “Where do you want me to begin? I mean, it was a dreadful campaign.”
Ms Soubry, who this morning was re-elected as MP for Broxtowe, said that the Prime Minister’s “change of heart” on the Tories’ flagship manifesto policy on social care was detrimental to her “credibility”.
She said that while parts of the party’s programme for government was “extremely good”, the messaging on cutting free school lunches for children and adjusting how people will pay for social care was not up to scratch.
“All the way along those sorts of messaging were appalling. And then of course the change of heart on social care, I’m afraid, deeply flawed Theresa May,” she said.
“It did not make her look the strong and stable Prime Minister and leader that she had said that she was. That was very difficult and very serious blow, I think in terms of her own credibility.”
When asked whether Mrs May could remain Prime Minister, Ms Soubry said: “That is a matter for her.”
She added: “It’s bad. It is a matter for her… she’s in a very difficult place. She’s a remarkable, she’s a very talented woman and she doesn’t shy from difficult decisions but she now has to obviously consider her position. We haven’t had all the results, so we need to see where we are. But Theresa did put her mark on this campaign, she takes responsibility - she always does and she I know she will.
“The running of the campaign as well, it was a tightly knit group and it was her group that ran this campaign.”
Earlier Mr Osborne had told ITV News that if the overnight exit poll came true, which forecast the Tories winning 314 seats and Labour 266, Mrs May would not “survive in the long term” at the helm of her party.
The remark was one of a series of barbs launched by Mr Osborne at his one-time colleague this evening, as he branded the Tories’ manifesto one of the worst in history.
Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg however came to the Prime Minister’s defence, and had a couple of polite barbs for the ex-chancellor.
“I think the thing to remember is that George Osborne is no longer a member of the parliamentary party, he stood down from his seat in Tatton, and though he may throw rocks from the Evening Standard he is not in the Commons to cause trouble there,” he told BBC News.
“I’m smiling because you’ve already reported his comments earlier this evening and he seemed to want to stir it up a bit. I think Theresa May will have a good deal of support. She’s only been the leader for under a year, she got it without any opposition, an uncontested election with support up and down the country. I don’t think the Conservative party is so fickle or such a fair-weather friend as it would not continue to back the Prime Minister.”