Fresh blow for Theresa May as another Tory MP submits letter of no confidence
Theresa May has suffered another blow after Philip Davies became the latest Tory MP to submit a letter of no confidence in her leadership.
The Shipley MP told constituents that Mrs May’s Brexit plans were "unacceptable” and said it would be “impossible to win back” trust if she pressed ahead with her proposals to maintain close ties with the EU.
The move comes just hours after another MP withdrew his own letter of confidence in Mrs May, and follows pledges of loyalty to the embattled Tory leader after a potentially-fiery meeting of the Conservatives’ 1922 committee of backbenchers passed off peacefully.
In a letter to constituents shared with the Yorkshire Post Mr Davies - who is the partner of Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey - said voters had "lost trust in the PM to properly and fully deliver the referendum result".
He added: "It is with much sadness that I have to say that I have also lost trust in her to deliver the referendum result too.
"Failure to keep our promise to the electorate will almost certainly lead to the catastrophe of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister and I cannot sit back and allow that to happen.
"Therefore I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that I have no alternative but to send a letter to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee asking him for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister."
In order to trigger a confidence vote in Mrs May’s leadership, 48 Tory MPs need to write to 1922 committee chair, Graham Brady.
Losing such a vote would spell the end of Mrs May’s time Number 10 and fire the starting gun on a Conservative leadership contest.
However, under Tory party rules, winning a vote of no confidence would shore up her position for another year.
Mr Davies said: "This is a secret process and people do not need to declare that they have sent such a letter, but I believe you (and my constituents) have the right to know what I do as your local MP and that is why I am writing to let you know.
"Some of you will agree with my decision and some of you will disagree - I am well aware of that. But you all have a right to know.
"I always have to look you all in the eye and tell you that I have done what I believe is right for the country and our Party.
"This has not been an easy decision and I have agonised over it, but I know in my heart of hearts it is the right decision.
"I hope that the Conservative Party and I can look forward to your continued support at what I appreciate is a very difficult time."
Tory backbenchers have been restless ever since Mrs May unveiled her plan - signed off at a Chequers summit of Cabinet ministers - to push for a "common rulebook" on goods traded with the European Union and set up an EU-UK free trade area that keeps close customs ties with the bloc.
The Prime Minister - who has been hit by a string of resignations - has argued that the plans stand the best chance of avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland, will limit disruption to business, and represent a realistic compromise that can be negotiated with Brussels.
But critics have warned that they will sacrifice sovereignty and leave the UK bound to key European Union institutions.
Boris Johnson - who quit as Foreign Secretary alongside Brexit Secretary David Davis in opposition to the proposals - yesterday tore into the deal.
In a rallying cry to MPs, he said: "Let us again aim explicitly for that glorious vision of Lancaster House a strong independent self-governing Britain that is genuinely open to the world.
"Not the miserable permanent limbo of Chequers. Not the democratic disaster of ongoing harmonisation with no way out and no say for the UK...
"We need to take one decision now before all others - and that is to believe in this country and in what it can do."