Tory colleagues back May to stay on as PM for now
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said Mrs May had the backing of her party.
Theresa May’s Cabinet and party colleagues have broadly given her backing during a series of TV interviews.
Philip Hammond refused to say how long he believes Theresa May will remain in number 10, despite suggestions she had side-lined her Chancellor during the snap election campaign.
Asked how long Mrs May had left in number 10, he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “I think what the country needs now is a period of calm while we get on with the job at hand. Theresa is leading the Government and I think the Government needs to get on with its job.”
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who challenged Mrs May for the leadership before pulling out of the race, also refused to be drawn on the PM’s future.
Asked when the right time for her to go would be, Ms Leadsom told BBC One’s Sunday Politics: “That is absolutely a statement I would utterly reject. You can’t see into the future. We have seen a lot of change in recent weeks and months.
“The Prime Minister has done a fantastic job in bringing the country back to a good place since she’s been the leader and the Prime Minister. She is absolutely determined to continue and she has the backing of her party.”
London Minister Greg Hands dismissed reports that Tory MPs had told Mrs May she had 10 days to save her position, saying the party was “united” in its support of the Prime Minister.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I don’t recognise that. I’ve not heard this and what I did see on Monday when Theresa May addressed the whole parliamentary party in the House of Commons was a party united and in support of our Prime Minister, getting on with the job of delivering a programme for government, which we will see on Wednesday in the Queen’s Speech, starting the Brexit talks tomorrow.
“There is a lot going on, dealing with the consequence, dealing with the immediacy of the Grenfell Tower fire. All of these things of course, there is quite a lot in the in-tray, but the Prime Minister is getting on with it.”
Meanwhile, former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who was forced out as Conservative leader in 2003, said Tory colleagues should back Mrs May to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from becoming PM.
“The reality is we need stability now, we don’t need silly people in the Conservative Party with big mouths and small brains running around the place trying to tell everybody what they are going to do,” he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
Former Tory minister Robert Halfon, who was axed from his frontbench role after the election, backed Mrs May but said the Conservatives need a “fundamental” change in their vision to win back voters.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, he said: “We could have Alexander the Great, we could have the Archangel Gabriel as leader of the Conservative Party, but unless we fundamentally change and work out what we stand for, show people that we are on the side of the most disadvantaged, show people that we are the real workers’ party in terms of wages, in terms of jobs and skills in terms of welfare, in terms of rights, in terms of workers’ services like energy bills, then we won’t achieve what we want to do whoever is the leader.”