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Tories preparing to ‘prune’ manifesto after failing to win majority

David Davis sidestepped questions on whether controversial social care plans would be ditched.

Parts of the Tory manifesto will be “pruned away” as Theresa May prepares for a showdown with Conservative MPs amid anger over the way the party saw its majority wiped out in the General Election.

The Prime Minister sought to stave off another Tory civil war ahead of her appearance before the backbench 1922 Committee by bringing former justice secretary Michael Gove in from the cold less than a year after she sacked him.

His appointment as Environment Secretary came after former chancellor George Osborne branded her a “dead woman walking”, warning that she could be ousted from No 10 in a matter of days.

Brexit Secretary David Davis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are being given an instruction by the British people and we’ve got to carry it out. That may mean that some elements of the manifesto will be pruned away, shall we say.”

He sidestepped questions on whether controversial social care plans, branded a “dementia tax” by opposition parties, would be ditched by the party ahead of the Queen’s Speech on June 19.

The lack of a majority and her diminished authority means it would be impossible for Mrs May to push through controversial measures that do not command the full support of her party.

She is facing a showdown with Conservative MPs on the backbench 1922 Committee amid anger over the way the party saw its majority wiped out in the General Election.

But despite concerns about both her leadership style and the campaign, there is thought to be little appetite for an immediate attempt to oust her.

Mr Davis described leadership gossip centred on Boris Johnson as a possible replacement as “unbelievably self-indulgent”.

He also insisted he had no ambition on taking the top job, telling Good Morning Britain: “I am not interested.”

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Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson used an article in The Sun to stress his support for the Prime Minister: “To those that say the PM should step down, or that we need another election or even – God help us – a second referendum, I say come off it. Get a grip, everyone.”

Other senior Tories – including Graham Brady, influential chairman of the 1922 Committee – predicted MPs would rally round, insisting there was no mood in the party for a damaging leadership contest which could see them plunged into a fresh general election.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Brady said the overriding mood within the Conservative Party was one of realism and recognising they had not got the result they wanted.

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He said: “I think we have a job to do and the job is try to provide the most steady government we most possibly can.”

Asked if Mrs May had failed, Mr Brady said: “No; I would accept that the election campaign was one of the worst that I can recall.”

He added he was going to do what he thought was in the national interest, and that was to keep the Prime Minister in office.

Mrs May’s hopes of survival hinge on a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to provide her with the necessary support she needs in the Commons.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Labour will “harry” Mrs May’s government by putting down amendments setting out an alternative vision to the Queen’s Speech and asking MPs to support them.

Ms Thornberry said it was unclear what elements of the Conservative manifesto would get into the Queen’s Speech following negotiations between the Tories and DUP.

“Her manifesto didn’t win, people don’t have confidence in her, she is a wounded Prime Minister, she’s not really going to be able to do anything,” the shadow foreign secretary told BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman declined to confirm that the Queen’s Speech would be held on June 19 as previously announced, telling a media briefing in Westminster that Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom will soon be releasing a statement on the date.

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