Theresa May must ‘fall on her sword’ to win Brexit vote, senior aides say
Senior aides of Theresa May have privately claimed that she is “finished” and will announce her departure to ensure she can pass her Brexit deal and “go with dignity”.
According to the Telegraph, two senior figures at Downing Street believe she has “lost the trust of Eurosceptics” and may be forced to set a timetable for stepping down.
Their concerns come after the Prime Minister lost her second meaningful vote and MPs voted against the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
One of the aides added that the “only way” Mrs May could regain the support of her party was to promise to quit by the end of the year.
The other aide said: "She needs to go with dignity, if she sets a date for her departure she can be remembered as the woman who delivered Brexit."
Mrs May has also faced pressure to resign elsewhere in her party, with some MPs warning they could support a vote of no confidence in the Government.
Former Tory minister George Freeman said earlier this week that Brexiteers could support the Prime Minister’s deal if she pledged to quit.
Sir Christopher Chope, a Eurosceptic Tory MP, also told the Telegraph he would “seriously consider” voting to bring down the Government over Mrs May’s handling of Brexit.
TORY POLL BLOW
The warnings came as a fresh poll put Labour four points clear of the Conservatives after a plunge in support for the Government.
The Tories now stand on 35% support - down five points on last month's Survation/Daily Mail poll, while Labour has jumped three points to 39%.
Fifty-seven percent of Conservative voters now want MPs to back the Prime Minister's deal, up from 36% in the last study, the survey also found.
On Wednesday night, four Cabinet ministers defied a three-whip by abstaining from the vote which saw a no-deal vote taken off the table.
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Justice Secretary David Gauke, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Scottish Secretary David Mundell all abstained on the key vote.
The ministers were not disciplined for ignoring the whip, leading to concerns that Theresa May was losing control of her cabinet.
Fifty-seven percent of Conservative voters believe those ministers should have quit after defying the whip, the Survation study finds.
Several junior ministers also abstained including business minister Sarah Newton, who was later sacked from her role.
The Government lost the vote by 321 votes to 278, forcing it to give MPs a vote on delaying Brexit on Thursday evening.