Furious Tory backbenchers break cover and call for Theresa May to quit

Posted On: 
24th March 2019

Angry Conservative MPs have broken cover and called openly for Theresa May to quit amid deadlock in Britain over Brexit.

George Freeman had previously called for the PM to stand down only once a Brexit deal is agreed
PA Images

A former top ally of the Prime Minister said it was “all over” for her in No 10, while an ex-Cabinet figure said Mrs May must be told: “It’s time to go.”

It came amid reports of a Cabinet plot to prise Mrs May from office and replace her with deputy Prime Minister David Lidington or Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

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Backbenchers have become increasingly frustrated over the way the PM has handed Brexit - with a plan to hold a series of symbolic votes on different options seen as the latest betrayal.

Some MPs were also put out that Mrs May sought a Brexit extension from the EU, while a battle-cry address on Wednesday in which she blamed MPs for the impasse won her no favours.

George Freeman - who served as a policy adviser to the Prime Minister in her early days in Downing Street – said the country needed a new leader to break the deadlock.

"She's done her best. But across the country you can see the anger," he said on Twitter. "Everyone feels betrayed. Government's gridlocked. Trust in democracy collapsing. This can't go on.

"We need a new PM who can reach out (and) build some sort of coalition for a Plan B."

Mr Freeman had previously said Mrs May should stand down once a Brexit deal is agreed.

Fellow backbencher Ann-Marie Trevelyan said: "We now need a leader who believes in our country and wants to take her on the next stage of her journey."


Former education secretary Nicky Morgan meanwhile urged Cabinet members to tell Mrs May: "It's time to go."

She told the Sunday Telegraph: "Unfortunately, I think that what started off as qualities that people admired are the ones that now mean she’s not the flexible leader to find a way through this.

"I understand that it is difficult to say to someone that it’s time to go. But there are enough people around the Cabinet table who can step up … and she’s got to listen."

And leading Conservative Brexiteer Steve Baker - who said he feared Mr Gove "would also go for Customs Union plus single market with Labour votes" - urged future potential Tory leadership candidates to make a move.

The former Brexit Minister said: "If they will not act now when are they ever going to be seen to step forward and how could they possibly persuade the country that they’re the great statesmen to take us forward?"

Elsewhere, pro-Brexit Tory backbencher James Duddridge said MPs could have “an indicative vote of confidence in the PM” – adding the hashtag “” – on Twitter.

He said: “It would be a secret vote and we would get over 2/3 of MPs wanting her to go at least, likely lots more. If indicative votes are good for the Commons they are good for the Conservative Party.”

The reports of a move against Mrs May come after U leaders agreed to delay Brexit following MPs' repeated rejection of the Prime Minister's deal.

The Prime Minister previously saw off a Tory leadership ballot in December and cannot be challenged under Conservative rules until the end of this year - meaning she would have to actively choose to step down.