Ex-Cabinet minister who quit Theresa May's government calls on Tory MPs to 'get behind' the Prime Minister
Ex-Cabinet minister Justine Greening has called on her colleagues to stop "sounding off" about Theresa May and get behind her.
The former Education Secretary resigned from her post earlier this month when the Prime Minister tried to move her to the same role at the Department for Work and Pensions amid a Cabinet reshuffle.
Ms Greening's first major intervention since standing down comes amid discontent within Tory ranks over the party’s Brexit stance.
And as PoliticsHome reported last week, senior MPs have said a fresh leadership challenge could be on the cards if the Tories suffer a "meltdown" in the upcoming local council elections.
However Ms Greening insisted the decision to remove her from the Education brief after a two-hour meeting at Downing Street was Mrs May’s “prerogative” – before giving the PM her full-throated backing and blasting rebel voices briefing against her.
“I remain a strong backer of the Prime Minister, so I’ve been very disappointed to see the soundings off, I think they need to stop, I think people need to get behind her,” she told the Today programme.
“I think she’s doing an important job for our country and we need to support her in that impossible almost task she has negotiating Brexit.”
When asked if Mrs May would be able to contest the next General Election in 2022 as leader, Ms Greening added: “If she wants to do that she will have my full support.
“I think she’s been very clear that she will take soundings from our party in the run-up to that election, but I remain a firm supporter and from my perspective I found it a privilege to be able to serve in the Government and to do the job that I always wanted to do, which is the Secretary of State for Education.”
The former minister said her decision to decline the role was part of a “big, but straight-forward choice” to concentrate on improving "social mobility and equality of opportunity".