Top Tory says ‘What a s**t-show’ as calls grow for May to resign

Theresa May
Fréa Lockley

A top Conservative MP has published a damning analysis of the party’s future. This comes as pressure is building for Theresa May to announce when she’ll resign.

“An utterly selfish Number 10 machine”

On 8 May, the influential Conservative backbench 1922 Committee met. There was much speculation that it may try to force May’s resignation. Ahead of this meeting, Robert Halfon, a former Conservative Party deputy chair, reflected on the local election results and declared:

What a s**t-show. More than 1300 seats lost. Over a thousand hard-working councillors out on their ear – not for the most part because of anything they did wrong, but because of a disastrous national situation.

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Writing for Conservative Home, he claimed that Tory grassroots organising “is now on life support” and continued:

Our failure to deliver Brexit, broken promises to properly address burning social injustices, our continued Party disunity and a lack of strong leadership brought about this disaster.

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Halfon also criticised May’s decision to fire former defence secretary Gavin Williamson the day before local elections. He said:

Creating such a self-indulgent drama was an utterly selfish decision from an utterly selfish Number 10 machine. Do they even care about the future of the Party?

The BBC‘s Laura Kuenssberg called Halfon’s attack “brutal”, adding it comes from a “well respected MP”.

“We are heading towards a 1997-type defeat”

Halfon warned that Labour’s “message on austerity still resonates with working-class voters struggling with the cost of living and fatigued with cutbacks in local government and public services”. And he called Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party “a tsunami in terms of political disruption”. He also suggested that the Lib Dems and Green Party gained seats as a “protest vote” and that this came “largely for the abject failure to deliver Brexit”. He indicated that if the party ignores this situation it’s “heading towards a 1997-type defeat”.

Amid speculation about who might seek to replace May, Halfon also said potential leadership candidates were “busy holding a beauty parade”.

Yet, according to Politics Home editor Kevin Schofield, May has no plans to outline a date for her resignation:

Local Conservative associations confirmed a vote of no confidence in May’s leadership is set for 15 June. Although this isn’t a binding vote, it could send another clear message to May.

As Jessica Elgot, the Guardian‘s chief political correspondent, noted, May ‘bought’ herself another week from the 1922 committee. She “agreed to meet and discuss her future with the” 1922 executive committee. Elgot also said that “1922 chair Graham Brady” told the “meeting of Tory MPs that the PM told him Brexit progress” could be expected in the “near future”.

At present, it’s unclear what will happen next. But Halfon’s letter and the 1922 Committee meeting indicate growing unrest among Conservative backbenchers.

Featured image via Flickr – Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916

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    1. Well said by this Conservative MP. However, it is an inescapable fact that May is power mad and intends to stay in power with absolutely no intention of resigning. I strongly suspect she rather hopes her gross incompetence, cheating, lying, corruption and intransigence will go away and be forgotten about.

      May says she will see Brexit through the question is how? She has absolutely no intention of relaxing her self-imposed ‘red lines’, she is held in utter contempt by the EU negotiators, she is dishonest first and foremost and intransigent and clueless about what is needed to do what is best for this Nation not what is best for the Tory Party. I had an intense dislike of Thatcher but at least she had the decency to resign when the chips were down. May? She’s pretty much like Hitler isn’t she – hanging on in their until there is no other option. What she doesn’t care about though is the serious economic damage she and Cameron have done to this country’s economy and worst damage due to her total inability to understand what Brexit negotiations are all about and the art of negotiation as opposed to warfare. She forgets the EU are our allies not our enemies.

      Her gross incompetence, stubbornness and failure to understand what the nation needs has resulted in irreversible damage being done to the UK economy, to jobs, to the manufacturing industry, to the financial sector and, more importantly she has made the UK appear to be an Island of total, ignorant, uneducated people to the rest of the world – who are laughing at us – and they have a right to. What country in the world could possibly even want to do a Trade Deal with the UK (as promised by Liam Fox but those deals are not forthcoming – oh sorry, we are saved, forgot we had done one with the Faroe Islands) given our arrogant, ignorant, poorly informed, poorly managed negotiations (sorry did I say ne gotiations I meant warfare) with our EU allies in relation to the UK leaving the EU.

      One thing May has shown is, this Government is a lying, cheating, manipulative one with inherent breath-taking corruption within it unprecedented in UK Parliamentary history but totally ignored by the MSM. We are not, currently, a Nation anybody country in their right mind would want to do business with, except the USA of course at the helm of which is a warmongering, corrupt, megalomaniac.

      1. May might be bad, but the situation here is not unlike the situation in the US, where we might wish Trump gone, but have to be careful what we wish for since what remains is so much worse.

        I am delighted to watch the Conservative party disintegrate. Whether it would disintegrate in such a spectacular manner if one of the other candidates gets their claws on the tiller remains to be seen. I’d rather not have to find out.

    2. Open letter to Jeremy Corbyn.
      Dear Jeremy,
      I watched the launch of our EU campaign on BBC News Channel, and fully support the party stance on Brexit up until now. It is in line with the conference resolution and is progressing through the sequence of actions the resolution laid down.
      However, within seconds of leaving coverage of the launch, Norman Smith, BBC Assistant Political Editor was describing it (I paraphrase) as confused and likened it to standing in the middle of the road vulnerable to traffic from both directions. This was disingenuous at best or deliberately destructive at worst.
      This, I fear, will be the generally used description by all commentators (well, most, as they are not exactly our friends) and our political opponents.
      I hope you will forgive me if I make a suggestion, a plea even, to accept that Mrs May is stringing the Brexit talks out, as she has done from day one post the referendum result.
      I feel it is clear that it is now time to announce that to continue Labour’s talks with the Tories now only serves the purposes of an increasingly desperate and cornered Mrs May.
      She has played her losing hand too many times for her to be still in the game, and must not be assisted in her attempts to delay her defenestration.
      I look forward to an announcement that in Labour’s opinion the PM will never cross enough of her red lines to reach a compromise which meets our country’s needs, and so bring the last element of the conference resolution into play: a people’s vote or second referendum, call it what you will.
      Unless this occurs before the EU elections, Labour will lose many of the seats we currently hold in Europe, harming our standing in the country. We must do well in these EU elections in order to have the opportunity to see through EU reforms, as you have rightly been advocating.
      In the launch speech you identified important policy changes you want implemented in the HoC, and our ability to form the next government requires further progress at all levels of politics.
      Our opponents inside and outside parliament (incl. many voices at The Observer) are ever ready to write off our policies as unachievable/unaffordable, policies which are based on traditional Labour principles, in their attempts to prevent them reaching fruition.
      It is essential that we ensure we have the chance to achieve this aim in the near future and form the first radical Labour government since Attlee’s.

      In solidarity,

      Eddie Dougall,
      Chair, Mid Suffolk Rural BLP.

    3. Should Labour follow this admittedly arrogant suggestion, it will help undermine further the wretched PM we are stuck with. She has nowhere to go apart from the rubbish tip, and anything that could assist that transfer the better.
      Plus, remaining in the EU has to be the aim, rather than continuing to be hamstrung by our attempts to reach a crap deal with the enemies of the public.
      Do it, please.

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