Around 50 Tory hardline Brexit supporters have met to discuss how and when they could force Theresa May to stand down as British PM, media reported citing sources.
Representatives from the European Research Group (ERG) discussed “how best you game the leadership election rules,” a source said as cited by the BBC.
One of those who reportedly attended the meeting said that “everyone I know says she [May] has to go,” “she’s a disaster,” and “this can’t go on.”
The report about Brexiteers discussing the UK leadership challenge was also issued by the Press Association news agency.
Earlier in September Steve Baker, a former junior Brexit minister, warned May that pressing ahead with her Chequers plan could see up to 80 Tory MPs voting against it, risking a “catastrophic split” in the party. “If we come out of conference with her hoping to get Chequers through on the back of Labour votes, I think the EU negotiators would probably understand that if that were done, the Tory party would suffer the catastrophic split which thus far we have managed to avoid,” he said.
The PM managed to secure the controversial Brexit plan, which is also known as the Chequers deal, at a marathon session of talks with her Cabinet in July. The strategy, which defines the relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit, divided both politicians and the public.
Opinion polls from July show that British voters overwhelmingly disapprove of May’s handling of Brexit. Instead, they would rather pin their hopes on a man who was only recently seen as a “liability” – Boris Johnson, who recently lashed out at May, saying that the Brexit plan is “a suicide vest” wrapped around the British constitution, and the detonator has been handed to Brussels.
The Brexit talks left the Tory government in dire straits. The government saw a string of ministerial resignations which involved not only Johnson but also the now former Brexit secretary, David Davis. After that, Conservative MP Philip Davies submitted a letter of no-confidence in Theresa May to the chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, Graham Brady. For a no-confidence vote to be triggered, 48 letters from Conservative MPs need to be submitted.
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