Pro-Brexit Tory plotters call on Theresa May to resign after she wins confidence vote
Angry pro-Brexit Tory MPs have urged Theresa May to resign after they failed in their bid to topple her as Prime Minister.
Jacob Rees-Mogg - chair of the hardcore European Research Group of Conservative Brexiteers - said the party leader should follow “constitutional norms” and “go and see the Queen urgently”.
Mrs May emerged victorious last night when 200 Tory MPs backed her in a confidence vote, but 117 - more than one-third of her MPs - voted to boot her out of office.
Despite keeping her job, the Prime Minister still faces an uphil struggle to secure any meaningful concessions from the EU on the so-called Irish backstop and then sell her Brexit deal to the Commons.
Mrs May once again took to the steps of Downing Street in the wake of the result to urge her warring party to work together on Brexit “in the national interest”.
But Mr Rees-Mogg said it had been a “terrible result” for her and said she must stand down.
“The Prime Minister must realise that on all constitutional norms she ought to go and see the Queen urgently,” he said.
“She clearly doesn’t have the confidence of the Commons. She should make way for someone who does.”
His deputy, Steve Baker, refused to outright call for the PM to quit, but he said Mrs May could be gone within a week if her Cabinet tells her “this can’t go on”.
He told the Peston show on ITV: “This result is about the worst that the political class could have as a whole.
“It means we will be grinding miserably forwards supporting the Prime Minister's leadership but opposing the PM's Brexit policy.”
Another ERG member meanwhile told the Daily Mail: “The campaign of guerrilla warfare will continue.”
They added: “Why on earth does anyone think anyone opposed to the Withdrawal Agreement would drop their fight should May be confirmed in place as leader?”
One Tory Brexiteer source told PoliticsHome: "When you take out the payroll vote, this is a huge vote of no confidence in Theresa May. She can't govern and has zero chance of getting her deal through Parliament. It's time for change."
But Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt compared the Tory rebels to ants and said they will never be satisfied.
He tweeted: "They never, ever stop. Votes against them, letters going in late - nothing matters to ERG. After the apocalypse, all that will be left will be ants and Tory MPs complaining about Europe and their leader."
Tory MP Simon Hoare also blasted the plotters and took special aim at Mr Rees-Mogg, saying: “Losing with bad grace and churlishness and just being a bad sport is not what people expect.
“He’s orchestrated this with some of his colleagues, he’s got the ballot, we’ve had it, we’ve got the result.
“Let’s now stop moaning and picking away at things, let’s come back heal, unite and deliver.”
'PM HAS TO CHANGE TACK'
Meanwhile, pro-Remain Tories also put the PM on notice - with MP Anna Soubry pointing out that “sensible, moderate Conservatives” also voted to depose her.
Speaking to Sky News, she said they “find themselves in a position where they could not say they had confidence in the Prime Minister”.
She added: “So this is serious. She has to change tack.”