THERESA May could be about to call up the removal van to Number 10 Downing Street as multiple high-level sources tell Politicalite that the required 48 letters from Conservative MPs to the Chair of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, expressing no confidence in the Prime Ministers leadership have been received.
Now, the Committee must consider and hold a vote of no confidence in the leadership of Mrs May. All Conservative MPs will be eligible to participate and she must win the backing of half of her peers to retain the leadership. If she cannot do this THEN there will be a leadership contest.
These reports follow a day of turmoil triggered by the resignation of David Davis late last night. In a terse exchange of letters, Mr Davis accused Mrs May of effectively selling out Brexit, a claim later echoed in much starker language by the departing Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.
In the Commons, Mrs May was savaged by Peter Bone, a stalwart of the Brexiteering backbenches. Mr Bone outlined how activists in his Wellingborough constituency had refused to campaign following the Chequers agreement.
Throughout the day, Mrs May had meetings with Conservative MPs but also tellingly, in a sign of her abject desperation, Labour MPs were briefed by David Lidington. All of this was to no avail as not one single Conservative MP appeared to have their doubts assuaged and appealing to Labour only emphasised her isolation within her own Party.
In the evening, Mrs May addressed the 1922 Committee and the European Reform Group held an emergency meeting. Some sources indicated the ERG were waiting for a lead from the former Foreign Secretary, however, they may well have found inspiration in a resignation letter which was brutal in its takedown of the ‘Chequers Turd’. Mr Johnson described in colourful language the current trajectory of Mrs May’s policy: “In that respect, we are truly headed for the status of a colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.
It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difﬁcult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.
What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK – before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white ﬂags ﬂuttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday’s document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.”
It looks very much like the game is now up for Mrs May in the sense that she will have to fight for and win the support of half of her colleagues. Mr Johnson is currently keeping his powder very dry but where Boris is involved we know that silence can only last for so long.