Furious Tories lash back at Grant Shapps amid Theresa May leadership row
Furious Conservative MPs have hit back at Grant Shapps after the former party chairman admitted he was the ringleader of a plot to oust Theresa May.
Charles Walker - the vice chair of the powerful backbench 1922 committee - said Mr Shapps' intervention was borne out of a quest for revenge.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove rejected Mr Shapps' claims while other MPs argued he lacked support in the party and would end up damaged by his own plotting.
Mrs May has faced a storm a criticism since her ill-fated party conference speech that saw her confronted by a protester before repeatedly losing her voice.
Mr Shapps broke cover last night, after being unmasked by The Times, and openly called for Mrs May to quit.
He told the BBC MPs were “perfectly within their rights” to urge the Prime Minister to step aside and said some 30 were supporting his challenge.
But Mr Walker told Radio 4: “Grant has many talents but one thing he doesn’t have is a following in the party, so really I think this is going to fizzle out, to be perfectly honest.
“What you’re seeing here is the coalition of disappointed people who think their brilliant political talents have not been fully recognised. It doesn’t reflect well on them and it doesn’t reflect well on Grant Shapps.”
Former frontbencher Nigel Evans meanwhile tweeted that there was "one direction that the Shapps bandwagon is going to roll...and that is over him".
And Business Minister Margot James added witheringly that Mr Shapps "lacks base in the party".
Another Tory MP told PoliticsHome Mr Shapps' actions were "stupid, stupid, stupid".
'DON'T BURY HEADS IN THE SAND'
Mr Shapps said this morning that even some Cabinet ministers privately want Mrs May to step aside, as he warned MPs not to ignore the dire situation the party is in.
“There’s that sort of lack of discipline in the Cabinet and party conference this week," he lamented on Radio 4.
"I think a growing number of my colleagues realise the solution isn’t to bury our heads in the sand and hope things will get better."
He added: "People who are dispassionate and look at this realise probably the time is to have a leadership election.”
However Mrs May received support from Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
Mr Gove told the Today programme: “No one is burying their heads in the sand. What we’re doing is concentrating on delivering and governing effectively.
"The critical thing is the PM has been doing a fantastic job. She showed an amazing degree of resilience and courage this week of a piece with the fantastic leadership she’s shown throughout the time she has been prime minister.”