Theresa May’s grip on power is slipping as Conservative MPs bay for blood

Emily Apple

As the dust settles from Theresa May’s disastrous speech to the Conservative Party conference, the vultures are already circling. Up to 30 MPs are reportedly [paywall] calling for her resignation, wanting her gone by Christmas. Rebels say [paywall] there is a 50% chance they will confront the PM within the next three days. And according to The Evening Standard, five former cabinet ministers are among their ranks.

Former minister Ed Vaizey, who was sacked by the PM in 2016, spoke to BBC Radio Oxford about the rumours:

I think there will be quite a few people who will now be pretty firmly of the view that she should resign.

Rebooting the Maybot

Many Tories were hoping that the conference would be an opportunity to reboot the party and their leader. But the reality was far different. From embarrassing scenes of an empty conference hall to May’s speech, which could have come straight from the pages of a sitcom, it’s hard to imagine what could have happened to make the conference even more calamitous for the party.

Vaizey stated:

But the Tory Party conference was a great opportunity to reboot the party and therefore reboot the country to give it a clear sense of direction and that didn’t happen. So yes, I am concerned.

And this view was echoed [paywall] by May’s former Chief of Staff, Nick Timothy:

This week was the opportunity for the Tories to reset and show the country not only that they understand the need for change, but that they have the policies to change people’s lives for the better. Unfortunately, they failed to take their opportunity.

Weighing up the options

Although commentators are suggesting that May could resign by Friday, the question for MPs will still be whether it is worth the risk:

But it’s not as though the Conservatives have a leader waiting in the wings. Apart from being known as a serial liar, Boris Johnson is under fire for dominating [paywall] the conference. Home Secretary Amber Rudd is hanging on to her Hastings constituency by a knife edge. And anti-abortion, anti-gay rights Jacob Rees-Mogg is being backed by Nigel Farage. Which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

Meanwhile, May has denied that she is considering resigning. And some loyal MPs are rallying to her side.

It’s not just May

May has become the sacrificial lamb for the party. This is perhaps warranted. She chose to call a snap election. And her performance during the campaign was abysmal.

But it’s important to remember that it isn’t just May that’s the issue, it’s the whole party. It’s the party that’s caused hardship and misery across the country. It’s the party that’s caused the UN to label the government’s treatment of disabled people a “human catastrophe”. And it’s the Conservative Party that is ruining our health service, our schools and our economy.

Changing the leader doesn’t change these facts. If May goes, whether by choice or by force, many will celebrate. But the real celebrations need to be saved until we’ve got rid of this government.

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