Conservative MP Nadine Dorries: 'Liar' David Cameron must be replaced as Tory leader
Conservative tensions over the European Union exploded into open civil war today when an MP broke cover to reveal she has already called for a vote of no confidence in David Cameron.
Nadine Dorries became the first MP to say publicly she had written to the 1922 Committee calling for a leadership challenge.
Party rules dictate that 50 backbenchers must follow suit to trigger a vote of no confidence.
Ms Dorries said Mr Cameron had told “outright lies” during the course of the campaign on the European Union referendum.
She predicted the Prime Minister would be “toast within days” of the vote unless Remain won by at least 20 points, and that there were a “considerable number” of other Conservatives preparing to support a change in leadership after the referendum.
“My letter is already in,” she told ITV’s Peston on Sunday show.
“If the Remain camp wins by a large majority, I think it would have to be 60-40, then David Cameron might just survive; but if Remain win by a narrow majority or if Leave, as I certainly hope and think will, win, he’s toast within days.
“There are many issues about which David Cameron has told outright lies and the trust, because of that, has gone in both him and George Osborne... The trust has been absolutely shattered in both David Cameron and George Osborne in the Conservative party and it will be very hard for either of them to survive in the future.”
Her intervention came after other pro-Leave campaigners tried to downplay comments from another Tory MP that Mr Cameron would have to quit in the event of a Brexit vote – and that it was “highly likely” that there would be a leadership challenge if there was a narrow Remain victory.
Andrew Bridgen told Pienaar’s Politics a win for Leave would prompt “an orderly departure for the Prime Minister”.
The line of most pro-Brexit Conservatives has been that Mr Cameron would stay in place to oversee the negotiations involved with the UK leaving the European Union.
Some of the most senior Conservative figures in Vote Leave – Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, and Iain Duncan Smith – all maintained that position this morning.
And Graham Brady, the 1922 Committee chairman, also criticised Mr Bridgen’s intervention.
He told the BBC’s Broadcasting House: "It's unfortunate in two ways. We do have a very big priority which is after the referendum is over we need to make sure we pull together, we get on with the job of governing whatever the outcome in the referendum...
"But the other reason why I think it's unfortunate...we really should be talking about the substantive issues about our democracy."
Nigel Evans, a secretary on the 1922 Committee, added to Pienaar’s Politics: “Personally I don't think it [50 signatures calling for a no confidence vote] is going to happen.”
But Steve Baker, another leading Brexiteer, told Sky News there “could be a problem” for the Prime Minister if there was a narrow Remain vote.
'TWIST THE KNIFE'
Meanwhile another Tory rebel took to the Sunday Times for an astonishing attack on Mr Cameron.
"I don’t want to stab the Prime Minister in the back — I want to stab him in the front so I can see the expression on his face," the MP said.
“You’d have to twist the knife, though, because we want it back for [George] Osborne.”
The MP added: “All we have to do is catch the Prime Minster with a live boy or a dead girl and we are away.”