Tory rebels claim no-confidence vote in PM will happen within days

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6405099/Tory-Eurosceptics-claim-force-no-confidence-vote-two-days.html

A Brexiteer coup against Theresa May appeared to have stalled today – as leading Tory rebel Steve Baker admitted some MPs have lied about backing the coup. 

It came as ex Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith led a Brexiteer delegation to No10 where he pleaded with the PM to tear up her divorce deal and go back to the negotiating table.  

He was joined by Lord Trimble, the former First Minister of Northern Ireland, Tory peer Lord Lilley and Conservative MP Owen Paterson.

They urged the PM to abandon the Irish backstop plan to keep the UK tied to the EU customs union, and instead use technology to keep the border soft instead. 

It came amid growing signs the Tory Brexit coup is fizzling out amid bitter recriminations among Eurosecptic MPs.

Just 26 Tory MPs have publicly said they have sent their letters of no confidence in – far short of the 48 needed to trigger the ballot.

And the Brexiteer organiser-in-chief Mr Baker accused Tory MPs of lying over their intention to send letters in.

Mr Baker told The Sun: ‘If everyone does what they’ve told me, the line will be crossed by a big margin on Monday evening’

‘However, it has become very very clear that not everyone does what they’ve said they’re going to do.’

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith (pictured today with Lord Trimble Tory peer Lord Lilley and Conservative MP Owen Paterson)  led a Brexiteer delegation to No10 where he pleaded with the PM to tear up her divorce deal and go back to the negotiating table

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith (pictured today with Lord Trimble Tory peer Lord Lilley and Conservative MP Owen Paterson)  led a Brexiteer delegation to No10 where he pleaded with the PM to tear up her divorce deal and go back to the negotiating table

The Tory Brexit delegation (meeting with David Trimble, Ian Duncan Smith and Owen Patterson leaving Downing Street in London) met he PM came amid growing signs the Tory Brexit coup is fizzling out amid bitter recriminations among Eurosecptic MPs

The Tory Brexit delegation (meeting with David Trimble, Ian Duncan Smith and Owen Patterson leaving Downing Street in London) met he PM came amid growing signs the Tory Brexit coup is fizzling out amid bitter recriminations among Eurosecptic MPs

Still 'eight letters short: Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg  is pictured in Westminster today amid claims his coup attempt is foundering. Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell today warned  the rebels  against 'hunting' Mrs May down like Margaret Thatcher.

Still ‘eight letters short: Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg  is pictured in Westminster today amid claims his coup attempt is foundering. Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell today warned  the rebels against ‘hunting’ Mrs May down like Margaret Thatcher.

He added: ‘Conservative members of parliament who have decided that the only way to change the policy is to change the leader must have the courage and integrity to write the letter themselves. Simply telling me they’re going to obviously isn’t good enough.’   

A source close to the gang of four said the meeting was ‘constructive’ while Mrs May’s official spokesman said: ‘The PM meets with colleagues all the time.’ 

Meanwhile, Westminster echoed to silence from Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee who must call a vote if 48 letters are sent to him.

The plotters are believed to be at least eight short of the trigger despite ringleader Jacob Rees-Mogg going public with his putsch over the PM’s Brexit deal last week.

ERG sources insisted it was a question of ‘when not if’ the threshold is met. 

But a senior Tory MP told MailOnline: ‘Jacob is going to have a lot of egg on his face. If they cannot even get 48 names together it shows they are not the force people thought.

‘They are a total shambles.’

Another MP warned the ERG: ‘For 5 weeks we have been told the letters are in yet still they fall short.

‘If it’s taken this long to get to 48 the chances of reaching the required 158 to depose the PM are receding fast.’  

Simon Clarke – who is among the 26 Tory MPs to have gone public with demands for a vote of no confidence – earlier urged Conservatives to help oust the PM claiming she is ‘on the rocks’.

The PM is facing a titanic political battle to cling on to power, and former chief whip Andrew Mitchell today urged the rebels to back off from the ledge, warning them against ‘hunting’ Mrs May down like Margaret Thatcher.

Who has sent letters of no confidence in May?

Letters of no confidence in Theresa May are confidential – but some of her strongest critics have gone public.

If 48 letters are sent a vote is called.

This is who has definitely sent a letter: 

  1. Jacob Rees-Mogg, North East Somerset, Jacob.reesmogg.mp@parliament.uk 
  2. Steve Baker, Wycombe,  steve.baker.mp@parliament.uk 
  3. Sheryll Murray, South East Cornwall, sheryll.murray.mp@parliament.uk
  4. Anne-Marie Morris, Newton Abbott, annemarie.morris.mp@parliament.uk
  5. Lee Rowley, North East Derbyshire,  lee.rowley.mp@parliament.uk
  6. Henry Smith, Crawley, henry.smith.mp@parliament.uk
  7. Simon Clarke, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland,  simon.clarke.mp@parliament.uk
  8. Peter Bone, Wellingborough,  bonep@parliament.uk
  9. James Duddridge, Rochford and Southend East,  james@jamesduddridge.com
  10. Philip Davies, Shipley,  daviesp@parliament.uk
  11. Andrea Jenkyns, Morley and Outwood,  andrea.jenkyns.mp@parliament.uk
  12. Andrew Bridgen, North West Leicestershire, andrew.bridgen.mp@parliament.uk
  13. Nadine Dorries, Mid Bedfordshire,  dorriesn@parliament.uk 
  14. Laurence Robertson, Tewkesbury, robertsonl@parliament.uk 
  15. Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes,  martin.vickers.mp@parliament.uk
  16. Ben Bradley, Mansfield,  ben.bradley.mp@parliament.uk
  17. Adam Holloway, Gravesham,  hollowaya@parliament.uk
  18. John Whittingdale, Maldon,  john.whittingdale.mp@parliament.uk
  19. Maria Caulfield, Lewes,  maria.caulfield.mp@parliament.uk
  20. Mark Francois, Rayleigh and Wickford,  mark.francois.mp@parliament.uk
  21. David Jones, Clwyd West, david.jones@parliament.uk
  22. Marcus Fysh, Yeovil,  marcus.fysh.mp@parliament.uk
  23. Chris Green,  Bolton West,  chris.green.mp@parliament.uk
  24. Zac Goldsmith, Richmond Park, zac@zacgoldsmith.com
  25. Bill Cash, Stone, cashw@parliament.uk
  26. Philip Hollobone, Kettering,  philip.hollobone.mp@parliament.uk 

Issuing his rallying call, Clarke urged wavering colleagues to help trigger a leadership challenge.

‘It is quite clear to me that the captain is driving the ship at the rocks,’ he said.

‘This is absolutely the day at which we stand at the bar of history on this,’ Simon Clarke told the BBC, adding ‘this day must be the point at which … action is taken’.

He added that MPs should ‘search their conscience’ and submit a letter to the 1922 Committee.  

Mrs Thatcher’s 11 and a half years in power came crashing down in 1990 when she was abruptly ousted from office in a coup triggered by Michael Heseltine, who mounted a leadership challenged against her. 

She was not ousted in the first round, but her Cabinet ministers ended up wielding the knife – going in one by one to urge her to go resign. Advice Mrs Thatcher ultimately took. 

And today’s rebel MPs believe they are close to landing their own killer blow.   

Former Brexit secretary David Davis insisted  the coup was ‘teetering close to getting over the 48’ but dodged questions over whether he had joined the revolt.

But doubts about the level of support for the revolt have already been raised by the length of time it is taking – with most observers believing the plotters are eight letters short. 

Despite leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg dramatically announcing he was joining the calls last week, Sir Graham said yesterday that he had not received enough.

There are signs of growing nerves among the rebels as constituency associations urge their MPs not to torpedo the package.

Senior Eurosceptics have also admitted that some of their colleagues do not seem to be telling them the truth about whether they have written letters.

Meanwhile, Tory figures have tried to head off the mutiny, with former chief whip Andrew Mitchell warning that the party would sustain massive damage if they were seen to ‘hunt her down’ as happened to Margaret Thatcher.

Mrs May will vow defiance today as she faces down restive Cabinet ministers and MPs.

She is facing a nail-biting next 48 hours to see if the Tory Brexiteer coup against her gains momentum or falls flat.

Sir Graham is the only Conservative who knows how many MPs have sent their letters in, and the number is shrouded in such secrecy he has not even told his wife Victoria what it is.

He also revealed that some MPs lie and pretend to send their no confidence letters in when they have not – although he did not say if this applied to the rebels trying to oust Mrs May.

And despite the bitter Tory civil war in Westminster, he predicted that Mrs May would win a no confidence vote if one is held against her. 

Speaking on the North West edition of the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme, he predicted Mrs May will not be easily toppled.

‘Leadership challenge’ to May has chilling echoes of the Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher was evicted from Downing Street after 11 and a half years when she failed to win enough support from her MPs.

Michael Heseltine launched a leadership challenge against her in November 1990.

While the PM won the first round, a critical mass of her MPs voted against her – prompting her Cabinet to warn she no longer had the political strength to carry on.

The 28th anniversary of the fatal second ballot comes tomorrow – November 20. 

Today’s rebel MPs believe they are close to landing their own killer blow in the same way.

If they secure a confidence vote, they are likely to insist 100 votes against the PM should be enough to finish her. 

He said: ‘It would be a simple majority, it would be very likely that the Prime Minister would win such a vote and if she did then there would be a 12-month period where this could not happen again, which would be a huge relief for me because people would have to stop asking me questions about numbers of letters for at least 12 months.’

Confirming he had not reached the crucial 48 number,  he told Pienaar’s Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live:  ‘If a threshold were to be reached I would have to consult with the leader of the party the Prime Minister.’ 

Pressed on if this would have to happen immediately, he added: ‘The whole thing is written with the intention that it should be an expeditious process. 

‘I think one of the crazy things which has taken hold over the last few weeks is that people in the media and elsewhere suggesting this is something that would go on for weeks.

‘If it were to happen it ought to be a test of opinion very quickly in order to clear the air and get it out the way quickly.’

He said claims he would sit on the letters and wait to hold a vote are ‘slightly offensive’. 

Sir Graham said has not written a letter of no confidence himself and  has ‘no intention to do so’. 

The Tory MP for Altrincham and Sale West said Britain is entering the ‘end game’  of a crucial negotiation and it is not the right time for the Tory Party and Government to be ‘plunged into uncertainty’.  

Mr Mitchell told the Times: ‘If these letters succeed in triggering a challenge then the party will turn in on itself and that is not a good place for the Conservatives let alone the country.

‘It will end making us look like we’re hunting the prime minister down as happened with Margaret Thatcher.

‘It will do the party untold damage in the eyes of the public.’

But he criticised the PM’s Brexit divorce deal, branding it ‘tricky’ and said he is ‘not happy’ about the backstop plans warning it could leave Britain trapped in the EU customs union forever. 

The Prime Minister is mounting another robust defence of the package thrashed out with Brussels despite the rising threat of a no-confidence vote by her own MPs.

Moving to quell calls from within Cabinet for the deal to be renegotiated, Mrs May will make clear that there is no prospect of reopening the talks.   

After many days of fevered speculation, Sir Graham Brady (pictured yesterday on the BBC), chairman of the 1922 committee which represents Tory MPs, said yesterday he has still not received enough letters to trigger a confidence vote in Theresa May

After many days of fevered speculation, Sir Graham Brady (pictured yesterday on the BBC), chairman of the 1922 committee which represents Tory MPs, said yesterday he has still not received enough letters to trigger a confidence vote in Theresa May

Who could replace Theresa May? As Brexiteers move against the Prime Minister because of her deal ‘betrayal’ these are some of the leading contenders to take over

Theresa May looks certain to face a vote of no confidence after her Brexit deal was rejected out of hand by Eurosceptics.

If she loses the Tory Party will launch a leadership contest to replace her – a process that will likely take weeks with just months until Brexit Day.

These are some of the leading contenders to replace her:

Dominic Raab

How did they vote on Brexit?

Leave, with a second tier role campaigning for Vote Leave.

What is their view now?

Mr Raab was installed as Brexit Secretary to deliver the Chequers plan but sensationally resigned today saying the deal is not good enough.

What are their chances?

Being the first to resign from the Cabinet has put a rocket booster under Mr Raab’s chances, fuelling his popularity among the hardline Brexiteers. May struggle to overcome bigger beasts and better known figures.

Odds: About 11-2

Newly installed as Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab (pictured in Downing Street on Tuesday) is trying to negotiate Theresa May's Brexit deal

Newly installed as Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab (pictured in Downing Street on Tuesday) is trying to negotiate Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Boris Johnson

How did they vote on Brexit?

Led the Vote Leave campaign alongside Michael Gove.

What is their view now?

Hard line Brexiteer demanding a clean break from Brussels. The former foreign secretary is violently opposed to Theresa May’s Chequers plan and a leading voice demanding a Canada-style trade deal.

What are their chances?

Rated as second favourite by the bookies, Mr Johnson’s biggest challenge will be navigating the Tory leadership rules. He may be confident of winning a run-off among Tory members but must first be selected as one of the top two candidates by Conservative MPs.

Odds: 5/1

Rated as second favourite by the bookies, Boris Johnson's (pictured at Tory conference last month) biggest challenge will be navigating the Tory leadership rules

Rated as second favourite by the bookies, Boris Johnson’s (pictured at Tory conference last month) biggest challenge will be navigating the Tory leadership rules

Sajid Javid

How did they vote on Brexit?

Remain but kept a low profile in the referendum.

What is their view now?

Pro delivering Brexit and sceptical of the soft Brexit options.

What are their chances?

Probably the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet after his dramatic promotion to Home Secretary. Mr Javid has set himself apart from Mrs May on a series of policies, notably immigration.

Favourite with several of the bookies at around 5/1.

Sajid Javid (pictured in Downing Street) is probably the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet after his dramatic promotion to Home Secretary

Sajid Javid (pictured in Downing Street) is probably the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet after his dramatic promotion to Home Secretary

Jeremy Hunt

How did they vote on Brexit?

Remain.

What is their view now?

The Foreign Secretary claims the EU Commission’s ‘arrogance’ has made him a Brexiteer.

What are their chances?

Another top contender inside Cabinet, Mr Hunt’s stock rose during his record-breaking stint at the Department of Health and won a major promotion to the Foreign Office after Mr Johnson’s resignation. Widely seen as a safe pair of hands which could be an advantage if the contest comes suddenly.

Rated around 8/1 by the bookies.

Jeremy Hunt's stock rose during his record-breaking stint at the Department of Health and won a major promotion to the Foreign Office after Mr Johnson's resignation

Jeremy Hunt’s stock rose during his record-breaking stint at the Department of Health and won a major promotion to the Foreign Office after Mr Johnson’s resignation

David Davis

How did they vote on Brexit?

Leave.

What is their view now?

Leave and a supporter of scrapping Mrs May’s plan and pursuing a Canada-style trade deal with the EU.

What are their chances?

The favoured choice of many hard Brexiteers. Seen as a safer pair of hands than Mr Johnson and across the detail of the current negotiation after two years as Brexit Secretary. He could be promoted a caretaker to see through Brexit before standing down.

Unlikely to be the choice of Remain supporters inside the Tory Party – and has been rejected by the Tory membership before, in the 2005 race against David Cameron.

Rated around 11/1 by the bookies.

David Davis (pictured last month at a Brexiteer policy launch) is seen as a safer pair of hands than Mr Johnson and across the detail of the current negotiation after two years as Brexit Secretary

David Davis (pictured last month at a Brexiteer policy launch) is seen as a safer pair of hands than Mr Johnson and across the detail of the current negotiation after two years as Brexit Secretary

Amber Rudd

How did they vote on Brexit?

Remain. Represented Britain Stronger in Europe in the TV debates.

What is their view now?

Strongly remain and supportive of a second referendum – particularly given a choice between that and no deal.

What are their chances?

Popular among Conservative MPs as the voice of Cameron-style Toryism, Ms Rudd is still seen as a contender despite resigning amid the Windrush scandal – and she was boosted further by her return to Cabinet as Work and Pensions Secretary on Friday night. She is badly hampered by having a tiny majority in her Hastings constituency and would not be able to unite the Tory party in a sudden contest over the Brexit negotiation.

Out to 50/1 among many bookies.

Popular among Conservative MPs as the voice of Cameron-style Toryism, Amber Rudd (pictured at Tory conference last month) is still seen as a contender despite resigning amid the Windrush scandal

Popular among Conservative MPs as the voice of Cameron-style Toryism, Amber Rudd (pictured at Tory conference last month) is still seen as a contender despite resigning amid the Windrush scandal

Penny Mordaunt

How did they vote on Brexit?

Leave

What is their view now?

Leave and subject of persistent rumour she could be the next to quit Cabinet over Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

What are their chances?

Possible dark horse in the contest, Ms Mordaunt is not well known to the public but is seen as a contender in Westminster. She has been encouraged to join the Cabinet revolt over the Brexit deal and could resign within hours.

Bookies rate her around 16/1.

Possible dark horse in the contest, Penny Mordaunt (pictured in Downing Street) is not well known to the public but is seen as a contender in Westminster

Possible dark horse in the contest, Penny Mordaunt (pictured in Downing Street) is not well known to the public but is seen as a contender in Westminster