Tories Call for May to Resign
Things can only get better, or worse, depending on how Theresa May deals with rumours of her resignation, which recirculated yesterday after her speech at the Conservative party conference. The speech, and speculation on May’s leadership have caused the pound to drop.
While many Tory MPs will be now eyeing the PM’s position, truth be told, there is no other obvious choice for her replacement. It is said, that some ministers called her last night to voice their support, while Greg Clark, the business secretary, explained that her place wasn’t under threat. Instead, he praised her “guts and grace” she exhibited during her speech.
Clark said: “After the conference a lot of people who were there in the hall, and watching it on TV, will have admired frankly the guts and grace that the PM showed in the face of some pretty difficult and unexpected developments.” He added that her performance elicited respect to those in the room and for everyone who watched it on TV.”
According to Huffington Post’s Paul Waugh, Tory MPs won’t follow protocol by voting against the PM, but will adopt the “men in grey suits” approach. The men in grey suits refers to the group of businessmen, politicians and government officials who move the strings behind the scenes. Waugh wrote that there is a former cabinet minister who has a list of MPs “who are ready to tell May that it’s time to go. I’m told there were 26 names on Tuesday and the Telegraph says that figure has gone up overnight to 30. The sharks scent blood in the water.” He went on to add that to trigger a no confidence vote “48 letters need to be sent to the backbench 1922 committee chairman Graham Brady. But the plot against May is not about the formal route, it’s more a group of MPs who want to adopt the ‘men in grey suits’ approach of the 1950s, offering May the political equivalent of a pearl handled revolver and glass of whisky (and perhaps a cough sweet).”
Any attempt such as this might fail, however, as Conservative MP Mark Pritchard tweeted. Talking to the Guardian reporter Anushka Asthana, Pritchard pointed out that it would be better “to have a prime minister who coughs during one speech than someone who wants to be prime minister who makes most audiences splutter in most of his speeches.”
Paul Goodman, the editor of ConservativeHome, the Conservative party members’ leading website, said that he didn’t think she would be challenged for the leadership, but indicated that Boris Johnson would be a better leader than her. He agreed with many others, that challenging May’s position, especially during the Brexit negotiations would be devastating and would “paralyse” them.
On the contrary, Conservative MP and former culture minister Ed Vaizey told the BBC that a few of his colleagues believe that Theresa May should resign. As he said: “I’m finding it increasingly difficult to see a way forward, at the moment, and it worries me.”
But many Tories believe in May, or at least they see no other alternative. Conservative MP George Freeman compared May’s sense of duty to that of the Queen, and defended her clear message and character: “In the same way that Her Majesty the Queen puts public service at the heart of everything she does, the prime minister is driven by a very deep sense of public service to country.”
He also said: “Absolutely not. Politics is a brutal game but losing your voice, getting heckled and having a set failure is not a reason to trigger a leadership debate. Personally I was in the hall yesterday and there were a lot of doubts before the prime minister spoke, a lot of people wanting to hear some really important messages. And I think we heard them.
There were three things yesterday. The party needed to hear a sorry, and we heard it. And I think people also saw something, the woman who has led this party apologising for that appalling campaign and doing the opposite to what she did during it; we heard a woman with humour, with wit, with warmth, a woman who showed her frailties and personal vulnerabilities, a woman who is at the age of life where many would put their feet up, with diabetes, battling through because she believes in public service. And a woman revealing the core, personal motive for that, the unhappiness of her childlessness. And she is driven by a need to put something back.”
But the most rational thing at the moment is to move on from her speech yesterday, and the ridiculous insistence of the media to remark on her cough or the falling letters on the wall, and realise that May is the best person for the job, at least for now.
As the Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told Adam Boluton on Sky’s All Out Politics, “I think we are going to carry on with Theresa May, certainly until we get through the Brexit process,” because “we need to hold the Conservative party and the government together and move forward.”