Theresa May could face an unprecedented ‘no confidence’ vote in her leadership after 70 local association chiefs signed a petition backing a challenge to her authority.
Reports suggest a grassroots revolt is emerging after activists called for an extraordinary general meeting of the National Conservative Convention to discuss the Prime Minister’s leadership of the party, the Telegraph reported.
A non-binding vote is expected to be held at the meeting, which would - if it showed a lack of confidence - put pressure on the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs to find a way of forcibly removing the PM from office.
May has come under heavy criticism for her handling of the Brexit process, but survived a vote of confidence of her MPs in December.
Under party rules a year has to pass before another vote can be called, but an extraordinary general meeting must be held if more than 65 local associations demand one via a petition, the paper said.
Dinah Glover, chairwoman of London East Area Conservatives, who has organised the petition, told the Telegraph: “I am extremely sad that we have had to organise this petition to ask May to consider her position but it has become increasingly obvious over the last year that she has become the block to Brexit rather the solution.
“Chairmen have signed the petition because they fear Brexit will not be delivered under her leadership.
“We need a Prime Minister who believes in the benefits that Brexit can bring to our country to lead us in the negotiations and out of the EU.
“That is the only solution which can satisfy our party and the British people. Enough is enough.”
Elsewhere a new poll found the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson is the favourite to replace May as Conservative leader among the party’s grassroots.
Almost a third of party members - 32.4% - backed the pro-Brexit Tory to take over the helm of the party, up by 10 points in the last month.
Ex-Brexit secretary Dominic Raab was second place with 14.7% support, according to the poll of 1,128 panel members by the Conservative Home website.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who also supported the Leave campaign, came third, ahead of Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.