Wednesday, July 19, 2017

{UAH} Theresa May tells plotting Conservative MPs: 'It?s me or Jeremy Corbyn'

Theresa May tells plotting Conservative MPs: 'It's me or Jeremy Corbyn'

Prime Minister tries to head off a summer leadership challenge by insisting it would trigger a general election - and a Labour victory

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Indy Politics

Theresa May has told plotting Conservative MPs "it's me or Jeremy Corbyn", her clearest admission yet that she is fighting to save her job.

The Prime Minister tried to head off a summer leadership challenge by insisting it would inevitably trigger a general election – and the Labour leader reaching Downing Street.

The warning came amid suggestions that the first letter of no confidence is in circulation among Tory MPs, although only a small number have signed it so far.

At a summer party, Ms May pleaded with her MPs to "go away and have a proper break and come back ready for serious business".

"No backbiting, no carping. The choice is me or Jeremy Corbyn - and no one wants him," Conservative MPs who were present reported her saying.

In reality, it would be possible to replace the Prime Minister without a further election if Tory MPs refused to overturn the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, although it would be politically difficult.

With MPs leaving Westminster for the long summer recess in two days' time, Ms May is safe for now – but allies of David Davis, Boris Johnson and, perhaps, Philip Hammond will still be circling when they return.

The crunch is likely to come at the annual Conservative conference at the start of October, when the Tory faithful will demand to say evidence that she can turn her premiership around.

At a Cabinet meeting today, the Prime Minister will attempt to enforce discipline by ordering her top team to stop leaks and damaging briefings about the Chancellor, Philip Hammond

At the weekend, Mr Hammond all-but admitted a report that he had told the Cabinet that public sector workers are "overpaid" – while denying he said "even a woman" can drive a train.

And he claimed his colleagues were out to get him because they are "not happy with the agenda that I have" on Brexit, which is to strike a lengthy transitional exit deal.

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