LOYALIST Tory MPs have threatened to oust their own backbench grandees if they press ahead with a new coup against Theresa May.
The parliamentary Conservative party was on the brink of outright civil war Wednesday night ahead of the PM’s showdown meeting with senior MPs Thursday morning.
Its 1922 committee executive, lead by Sir Graham Brady, has demanded their embattled leader lays out a timetable to resign with or without a Brexit in place when they grill her at 11.30am.
If the PM refuses, Brexiteers on it have pledged to try again to change party rules to allow an immediate confidence vote to oust her by ripping up a 12 month grace period after December’s failed coup.
But in an extraordinary new turn in the long running saga, May loyalists have also vowed to then force a vote of confidence in the 17-strong executive itself.
One senior Tory MP who wants Mrs May to stay on told The Sun Wednesday night: “If the executive goes ahead with a rule change now, it will be the height of irresponsibility at this time of national crisis as well as destabilise the leadership forever more.
“So we will call a confidence vote in them, which all colleagues are within their full rights to do.”
The PM is expected to refuse Sir Graham’s timetable request on Thursday, and insist she has already pledged to step down as soon as her Brexit deal is passed.
CHALLENGING THE CHALLENGERS
But in a major olive branch, she also this week pledged to hold a final showdown vote on it by introducing the landmark Withdrawal Agreement Bill in two weeks time.
No10 aides hinted on Wednesday the action added up to a confidence vote in her, as defeat would almost certainly force her resignation.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “Clearly the significance of this piece of legislation can’t and I suspect won’t be underestimated”.
One Brexiteer rebel on the 1922 executive said Mrs May will probably escape an immediate new challenge as bringing the bill to Parliament will be enough to persuade its swing voters.
The executive member said: “I will vote for a rule change, but I’m not sure we will have the numbers now.
“Some colleagues will have been persuaded by this to give her more time.”
In a fresh humiliation for Mrs May on Wednesday, Eurosceptic Tory MP Peter Bone openly challenged her to resign within a week during PMQs by delivering a message to her from local activists in his constituency.
Mr Bone said: “They say they’ve lost confidence in the Prime Minister and wish her to resign before the European elections”.
The PM hit back: “If everybody in the House of Commons had voted along with the Government and the majority of Conservative members of parliament we would already have left the European Union”.
Source: Read Full Article