Can May last the day? PM faces calls to stand down as all Tory whips are summoned to London

 

  • More than 20 Tory MPs publicly declare no-confidence in PM
  • Michael Gove remains Environment Sec after turning Brexit minister role
  • Embattled Theresa May told to step down live on air while fielding questions on LBC
  • Amber Rudd replaces Esther McVey as Work and Pensions Secretary
  • Stephen Barclay appointed Brexit Secretary

Theresa May’s future is looking more uncertain than ever as all Government whips were summoned to Westminster amid rumours of an imminent vote of no-confidence in the Prime Minister.

The PM attempted to shore up her fragile administration, appointing Stephen Barclay as her new Brexit Secretary following the resignation on Dominic Raab over her deal with the EU.

Twenty-one Conservative MPs have publicly confirmed they have submitted letters of no-confidence in Mrs May – 48 are needed to trigger a leadership contest

However, Steve Baker, the deputy chair of the powerful European Research Group – which also counts Jacob Rees-Mogg among its members – has reportedly texted allies saying “my count is over 48 with about a dozen probables on top”.

The developments came as Mrs May was told to stand down by a Conservative councillor as she took calls on an LBC radio phone-in.

The beleaguered Prime Minister has already been hit with the high-profile resignations of Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey. It had been widely anticipated that Environment Secretary Michael Gove would also quit on Friday.

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But in a reprieve for Mrs May, Mr Gove said he will remain in post and “thinks it is important to continue working with Cabinet colleagues to ensure the best outcome for the country”.

Amber Rudd, who resigned as Home Secretary after misleading parliament over the Windrush Scandal, has rejoined the cabinet as Work and Pensions Secretary, replacing Esther McVey.

According to Sunday Times, Mr Gove, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom have also all agreed to stay in post to “get this in a better place”.

 

During Mrs May’s phone-in on LBC, a Conservative councillor who identified himself as Daniel from Louth, said: “Please Prime Minister, tell me why do you think you should stay on as PM when you have failed – despite your no doubt honourable intentions – to (deliver on) the referendum result?

“If you cannot do that, I respectfully ask you to do the right thing in the national interest and stand down to allow someone from the Brexit camp to take the lead. There is still time to sort this out.”

Mrs May responded by going through details of the draft withdrawal agreement.

“You’re absolutely right that for a lot of people who voted Leave, what they wanted to do was make sure that decisions on things like who can come into this country would be taken by us here in the UK, and not by Brussels, and that’s exactly what the deal I’ve negotiated delivers,” she said.

Later on in the phone-in, Mrs May was asked whose resignation had annoyed her the most – Mr Raab’s or Ms McVey’s.

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She replied: “I’m very sorry that both Dom and Esther felt that they needed to leave the Cabinet, they have done great work. I’m sorry when anybody feels the need to leave the Cabinet.”

Asked how important it was that Mr Gove remained on her ‘team-sheet’, she replied: “Michael has done a really important job at Defra”.

She went on: “I want all of my colleagues in the Cabinet to feel able to carry on doing the excellent job that they are doing.”