EXCL Iain Duncan Smith gathers Tory plotters in his office ahead of no confidence vote in Theresa May
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has been gathering Brexiteer plotters in his parliamentary office, just hours ahead of a vote that could end Theresa May's premiership, PoliticsHome can reveal.
Mr Duncan-Smith was joined by ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker and other leading Eurosceptics for meetings in Westminster as the Prime Minister’s leadership hangs in the balance.
The senior Tory - who was ousted by his own party in 2003 - has previously denied being part of plans to ditch Mrs May, maintaining that he has not submitted a letter of no confidence against her.
But the group of MPs meeting him today have been spearheading the plot to replace the Prime Minister with a Brexiteer.
Mr Baker, who coordinates Tory troops in the European Research Group alongside Jacob Rees-Mogg, has already said: "Conservatives must now answer whether they wish to draw ever closer to an election under Mrs May’s leadership. In the national interest, she must go."
Alongside Mr Baker, Mr Duncan Smith was joined by Scottish Tory Ross Thomson, as well as Brexiteers Bernard Jenkin, Anne Marie-Trevelyan and Simon Clarke.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, announced this morning that the 48-letter threshold to trigger a ballot had been reached and that the vote will begin at 6pm.
It comes after weeks of speculation following Brexiteer anger over the Prime Minister’s deal on quitting the EU.
In a statement outside Number Ten this morning Mrs May vowed to fight on, saying: “I will contest that vote with everything I’ve got."
The Prime Minister will need to secure 158 votes to stay in post, with the result expected before 9pm this evening.