Theresa May battling to save her leadership as Tory MPs 'demand she faces show trial'

Posted On: 
21st October 2018

Theresa May faces a fight to stay on as Prime Minister this week amid demands from discontented Conservative MPs that she pleads to keep her job.

Theresa May has reportedly been urged to face down the 1922 Committee
Credit: 
PA Images

The PM is said to be at risk of a move to oust her if she fails to convince the party’s 1922 committee on Wednesday that her Brexit strategy can continue.

The Mail on Sunday reports one senior Brexiteer saying that only an “uncharacteristically powerful, persuasive and coherent” performance could save her from a no confidence vote, while chillingly adding that she should “bring her own noose”.

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One former Cabinet minister who spoke to the paper compared the PM to a "lame cockroach" who "keeps going" in an "irradiated" environment.

Tory MPs who were already unhappy about the PM's Brexit plans were further enraged this week when a European Council summit which was meant to clinch a deal ended with the PM proposing an extension to the transition period. 

An ally of ex-Brexit secretary David Davis told The Sunday Times that Mrs May was entering “the killing zone”. Another MP, who the paper says hopes to succeed her, added: “Assassination is in the air.”

'THROWING SH*T'

Meanwhile, backbencher Johnny Mercer ramped up his criticism of the PM by insisting someone guilty of an “abject failure to govern” could not remain in post at such a crucial point.

“I cannot continue to support an administration that cannot function,” he wrote in the Sunday Times.

“We need technocrats and managers… but at this defining moment in our history, Britain cannot be led by them.”

It comes days after the Plymouth Moor View MP told The House Magazine that the current administration was a “sh*t show” and he would not vote Tory if he were not an MP.

Mr Mercer was backed by Boris Johnson in the wake of his intervention, but one frontbencher told PoliticsHome the rising star had been "very naive".

Another senior Conservative told PoliticsHome last night: "Perhaps rather than throwing sh*t at the party he could try engaging with it."

The top figure from the voluntary wing of the party added: "Maybe he could try his local policy forum? Or if he doesn’t have one maybe he could try setting one up? True conservatives prefer constructive engagement."

NO-CONFIDENCE

Elsewhere, the Times reports that up to 46 MPs have sent letters to the party’s 1922 Committee demanding a contest to replace Mrs May, just two short of the number needed to trigger a no-confidence vote.

However the Mail on Sunday says the subsequent ballot would ultimately fall short of the 159 required to automatically trigger a leadership contest.

Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns, a long-standing critic of the PM told the paper: “This is a moment for action, the right time to select a brave leader. How bad does it get before we act?”

Meanwhile Andrew Bridgen, who also called on the Prime Minister to stand aside, said: “This week Theresa May will find that she is drinking in the last chance saloon and the bad news for her is that the bar is already dry.

“If she doesn’t turn up to the ’22 that will only make the letters go in even faster.”

Downing Street is said to have refused to confirm whether or not the PM would appear at this week’s meeting, saying that she would have “plenty of chances to answer questions in the Commons next week”.