Bri­tish PM fights back af­ter plot to oust her

Sunday Observer - - NEWS - ONDON - AFP

LBri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May on Fri­day said she en­joyed the "full sup­port" of her Cabi­net af­ter a for­mer chair­man of her Con­ser­va­tive Party ad­mit­ted he was be­hind a plot by around 30 MPs to urge her to re­sign.

"What the coun­try needs is calm lead­er­ship and that's what I'm pro­vid­ing with the full sup­port of my Cabi­net," May told re­porters in her con­stituency in Maiden­head, west of Lon­don.

Grant Shapps, iden­ti­fied as the ring­leader of the ef­fort to oust May af­ter a fal­ter­ing per­for­mance at the party's con­fer­ence this week and Cabi­net in­fight­ing over Brexit, said there was grow­ing mo­men­tum be­hind the calls for her to step down.

Shapps said five for­mer min­is­ters were part of the move to oust May and some cur­rent min­is­ters also "sup­port it", al­though other se­nior party fig­ures con­tra­dicted him.

"A grow­ing num­ber of my col­leagues, we re­alise that the so­lu­tion isn't to bury our heads in the sand and just hope things will get bet­ter," Shapps told BBC ra­dio.

Asked about the plot, he said: "Are there Cabi­net mem­bers aware? Yes. Do some sup­port it? Yes." "It will have to be her de­ci­sion. I had rather hoped that we would be able to get to the point where we could go to her pri­vately and have this con­ser­va­tion," said Shapps, an MP and for­mer min­is­ter. He added there was in­creas­ing sup­port among a "broad spread" of MPs for a lead­er­ship con­test in the first open dec­la­ra­tion of an or­gan­ised ef­fort to oust May since her poor per­for­mance in a June snap gen­eral elec­tion. May's lead­er­ship has also been strained in re­cent weeks by Boris John­son, the for­eign sec­re­tary, who pub­licly un­der­mined ef­forts to present a united front over Brexit with sev­eral news­pa­per col­umns and in­ter­views set­ting out his own stance on the is­sue.

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