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Sunday, June 11, 2017

How long can Theresa May survive?

It is fair to say that the Sunday papers are gunning for Theresa May. Behind its paywall, the Sunday Times for example suggests that five cabinet ministers have urged Boris Johnson to topple her. Their columnist, Robert Harris says that May should be poleaxed. Elsewhere, papers are reporting on confusion and dissent over the projected deal with the DUP.

Two of Theresa May's top aides have been thrown under the proverbial bus, whilst the Daily Mail quotes members of 'Team Boris' who are said to be circling like vultures waiting for the kill. Meanwhile a 640,000 signature petition is doing the rounds in an effort to block the Tory-DUP link-up.

Most damning for Theresa May is this report in the Independent, which says that she has lost the support of Conservative members who want her to resign after her election failure. They say that almost 60 per cent of grassroots Tories have told the ConservativeHome website that the Prime Minister must fall on her sword after destroying her Commons majority.

The paper says that since Friday’s results, some senior Tories are referring to Ms May as an “interim leader” and her Cabinet has failed to come out publicly to support her:

It would require 15 per cent of Conservative MPs – a total of 48 – to write to Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, to trigger a vote of no-confidence in her leadership.

 Ms May would be forced to resign if she then failed to win a majority. Alternatively, the Prime Minister could decide the game is up and quit without a vote.

ConservativeHome received 4,763 replies in just 24 hours to its post-election survey on Ms May’s future – “the second-biggest response and the most rapid”.

Of those, 65 per cent said the Prime Minister should go. Among members, 894 of 1,503, almost 60 per cent, said her time is up.

All now hinges on Tuesday's meeting of Tory backbenchers. A former minister, Ed Vaizey, has indicated that Tory MPs are actively discussing May’s position using the WhatsApp messaging system. If she cannot get their support then we could be seeing a new Tory leader in post within months.
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