Theresa May swerves leadership revolt after addressing crucial meeting of backbenchers

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Theresa May has dodged a potential leadership revolt (Getty)

Theresa May has managed to dodge a challenge to her leadership after calming Tory nerves at a crucial meeting of backbench MPs.

The Prime Minister appeared to steady her position after she delivered a ‘heartfelt’ appeal at the meeting of the 1922 Committee on Wednesday evening.

She urged Conservative MPs to stand firm as EU withdrawal negotiations enter their frantic final phase.

The meeting came after reports that 46 of the required 48 letters of no confidence needed to trigger a leadership challenged had been submitted.

The Prime Minister seemed to calm Tory backbenchers at a crucial meeting at Westminster (Getty)

However, it is not clear where this number has come from as the head of the Committee never comments publicly about figures.

Despite Mrs May seeming to dampen speculation of an imminent bid to oust her, former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan predicted the PM only had months left in power.

Asked if Mrs May had her backing, Ms Morgan told ITV’s Peston: ‘She has, absolutely, for now. But I think we’ll probably, in the course of the next 12 months, we’ll be looking for a new leader.’

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Former home secretary Amber Rudd said that Mrs May had ‘won the room’ with an emotion-tinged speech.

Ms Rudd praised the PM, saying: ‘She got a warm welcome, she talked quite emotionally about why she was doing this for the good of the country and how it was important that the public and our party members realise that we are behind her and that we all wanted the same thing – which is to lead in the best interests of the country.’

Asked if the PM looked emotional, Ms Rudd said: ‘Well she looked like she really minded – it wasn’t reading from a script.

Mrs May still has the tricky issue of Brexit to sort out (Getty)

‘She was talking frankly and honestly from the heart about why she was doing this and why it mattered.’

The PM’s address came after a torrid week in which an anonymous MP was quoted as saying Mrs May should ‘bring her own noose’ to the meeting.

The comments appear to have backfired as Mrs May was given a warm welcome, with MPs uniting around her in the face of the extreme rhetoric leaked to Sunday newspapers.

Ms Rudd said a lot of MPs condemned the ‘really nasty language’ that had been used in the run-up to the meeting.

Mrs May is now pushing ahead with her Brexit agenda and moving closer to a deal with the EU – which she claimed earlier this week is 95% agreed.

However, the European Parliament’s Brexit representative Guy Verhofstadt warned that until the Irish border issue is solved the deal is 0% agreed.

He tweeted: ‘Progress on the #Brexit negotiations can be 90%, 95% or even 99%, but as long as there is no solution for the Irish border, as long as the Good Friday agreement is not fully secured, for us in our Parliament progress is 0%.’

The Government is reportedly preparing to unveil parliamentary preparations for a no-deal Brexit in less than three weeks’ time, according to The Times.

A raft of legislation intended to deal with the consequences of the UK exiting the EU without an agreement will be launched in the second week of November, the newspaper reported.

The Government is also making contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, which include alternative measures to secure supplies of food and medicines from the continent.