TORY activists are turning on Theresa May after her soft-Brexit plan was unveiled.
BuzzFeed today reports that rank-and-file Tories are turning away from the Prime Minister and looking towards Boris Johnson to save Brexit.
Most worrying for Mrs May should be the comments of Peter Everitt-Clay who describes himself as “angered and furious” by her Brexit betrayal. He clearly is not on the right of the Party. His Twitter handle describes himself as the ‘original centrist Dad’. All he wants is for May to deliver on her promise of a clean Brexit. However, now he doesn’t believe she even wants to do that and is refusing to campaign against the Party, instead taking up arms against his own leader.
This is the rub. Arguably, dissent from one wing of a Party is rarely enough to finish any Party leader. However, the rebellion against Mrs May is becoming generalised to all wings of the Party as she is buffeted by one side to the other, first having no choice but to concede amendments to the ERG to the Chequers agreement and then, to avoid a vote of confidence, to concede to Tory Remoaners. Strong and stable this is not.
Sometimes, leaders are saved because of the lack of a clear alternative. However, the emergence of Boris Johnson as a darling of the Tory grassroots means that there clearly is now an alternative. Finally, the breach of trust caused by Chequers means that effectively now she cannot win, clearly even accepting the ERG amendments has not been enough to assuage Brexiteers anger.
Nothing ever will be because the breach of faith is a fundemental one and once that bond of trust is broken it is usually gone for good. As one activist put it “She has lied to us and taken us for fools” which means for most Tories now it is a case of “anyone but May.”
Activists are getting organised. The report indicates that they intend to lobby strongly Tory MPs in marginal constituencies, calling on them to scupper Chequers and support a motion of no confidence in May. Although in the report they say they are “outgunned” the objective turn in the polls by discontented Brexiteers to UKIP, a clear threat to Tories in marginal seats, may find that their audience is more receptive than they feel they will be.
All eyes will now turn to the Tory conference in Birmingham at the end of next month. One activist told Buzzfeed it will be a “bloodbath”. At the last conference a protestor handed Mrs May a mock P45, this time around she may well receive the real deal.