Brady rejects call for Tory no-confidence vote in Theresa May
Conservative Brexiteer Mark Francois says MPs have lost faith in the Prime Minister.
A call to allow Tory MPs to stage a vote to show they have “lost faith” in Theresa May’s leadership has been rejected by the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee.
Prominent Brexiteer Mark Francois has written to Sir Graham Brady asking for an “indicative vote of confidence” in the Prime Minister this week if she refuses to step down voluntarily.
But after a meeting in Downing Street between Mrs May and the 1922 executive, Sir Graham said they had no intention of agreeing to that course of action.
“As I made clear last week, the executive have discussed it and there is no intention of proceeding,” he told reporters.
In his letter, Mr Francois, the deputy chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said he believed the Prime Minister should resign for the sake of “the existential future of our party and the destiny of our country”.
But he said, if she would not, then a vote on Wednesday would send a signal to leaders of the remaining 27 EU states that they should not grant Mrs May the delay to Brexit she is requesting at a Brussels summit that evening.
A formal vote of confidence in Mrs May as Conservative leader cannot be held until December, after she survived an earlier attempt to oust her by 200 votes to 117, granting her a 12-month period of grace during which no challenge is permitted.
However Sir Graham told last week’s meeting of the 1922 executive that a proposal for an indicative vote had been put to him.
The executive decided that, while it was possible for such a vote to be staged, it was neither necessary nor appropriate to do so at this point.
BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: ERG Vice Chairman Mark Francois writes explosive letter to 1922 Committee Chairman demanding an ‘indicative vote’ for Tory MPs on whether they back Theresa May’s leadership before she attends the European Council on Wednesday https://t.co/72eCuqW8WC— BrexitCentral (@BrexitCentral) April 8, 2019
In his letter Mr Francois said they could carry on with “a weak leader, a riven Cabinet and a party in despair”.
“I believe Theresa May has been a failure as leader of our party, which she now threatens to destroy. Hers is a classic example of hubris – and after hubris comes nemesis,” he wrote.
He said that it was “literally incredible” that Mrs May was discussing a possible compromise Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn and that she was contemplating European Parliament elections in which Tory candidates would be “slaughtered”.
I have never known our MPs, councillors and activists to be as angry and disillusioned as they are today Mark Francois
“We are living in a world gone mad,” he said. “A Conservative Prime Minister, who voted Remain, egged on by a coterie of neo-federalist civil servants and a powerful Remainiac cabal in the Cabinet, has tried – and failed three times – to pass a draft treaty through the House of Commons which would lock us into a customs union forever.
“In 36 years as a member of the Conservative Party, I have never known our MPs, councillors and activists to be as angry and disillusioned as they are today.”
The former shadow Europe minister said that any deal with Labour based on Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement was “extremely unlikely to pass”, as opposition on the Tory benches was growing once more.
Branding Mr Corbyn a “committed Marxist, a lifelong CND supporter and a man who would quite willingly disarm this country of its defences”, he claimed that the Labour leader was “taking advice on the negotiations from Sinn Fein/IRA”.
Mr Francois said he hoped that the EU27 leaders would “kick us out of the EU” on Wednesday by refusing to grant an extension to the Brexit process.