David Cameron to face leadership challenge even after EU Remain vote - Tory MP
David Cameron will face a leadership challenge regardless of whether Britain votes to leave or remain in the European Union, a Conservative backbencher has declared.
Andrew Bridgen said a contest was “highly likely” if the UK votes to stay in the bloc by a small margin, and argued a new Tory leader should hold a general election this year.
The eurosceptic North West Leicestershire MP made the comments in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics to be broadcast later today.
Mr Cameron would face a vote of no confidence in his leadership if 50 Tory MPs write to the party's backbench 1922 Committee and demand one.
Most eurosceptics have so far said the Prime Minister would be expected to remain in post even if Britain quit the EU, as he is the best placed person to engage in exit negotiations.
But Mr Bridgen said Brexit would prompt “an orderly departure for the Prime Minister”, while a narrow Remain vote would leave his position on shaky ground.
“I think there’s at least 50 colleagues who are dissatisfied with the way the Prime Minister has put himself front and centre of a fairly outrageous Remain campaign,” he told the show.
He said MPs would paralyse the Government if Remain wins, and the Tories should call another election to seek a new mandate anyway.
One Tory rebel told the Sunday Times: “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.
“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.”
Meanwhile the Conservative party leader in Wales has said the EU referendum will “set in motion” the search for a new, uniting Tory leader regardless of the outcome.