TORIES IN CHAOS AFTER FLIP-FLOP BY PARTY CLOWN PRINCE
THE Tories descended further into chaos last night after Boris Johnson, who has been accused of jockeying for leadership of the party and undermining Theresa May, urged Conservatives to “get behind” the Prime Minister. The Foreign Secretary used a WhatsApp message to appeal to Tories to “talk about nothing except policies”. Johnson said: “We have just had an election and people are fed up with this malarkey. Get behind the PM. Ordinary punters I have spoken to thought her speech was good and anyone can have a cold.”
He told Tories to “circle the wagons, turn the fire on Corbyn and talk about nothing except our great policies and what we can do for the country”.
Johnson’s intervention came after he faced calls to be sacked for destabilising the party following his intervention on Brexit on the eve of conference and controversial remarks about dead bodies in Libya at a fringe event.
Other senior Tories were forced to intervene in support of the Prime Minister last night as the party continued to face meltdown following a plot to oust her from Downing Street. Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson was part of concerted moves to close ranks around the embattled Prime Minister after her troubled party conference speech.
Davidson said critics should “put up” and “shut up”, adding that the calls to move against Theresa May were not led by anyone “serious”.
The dramatic interventions came after former party chairman Grant Shapps said about 30 Tory MPs backed his call for a leadership contest. Davidson, like Johnson tipped as a potential successor to May, said there were “an awful lot of people in our party who need to settle down”.
Davidson said: “I think if the plotters were serious, they would be led by someone a bit more serious. One of the irritants over the last couple of days, for me, particularly as a woman, is this idea that all of these men are supposed to be making decisions on Theresa May’s behalf.
“Well, have they actually met Theresa May? This is a woman with agency, with grit, with determination. I backed her in the leadership, I back her now and I will back her in the future.”
Pressure on the Prime Minister has grown since her Tory party conference speech was plagued by a series of mishaps, as she struggled with a persistent cough and was interrupted by a comedian who handed her a P45. Shapps, who was co-chair of the party between 2012 and 2015, said he believed it was “time we actually tackle this issue of leadership”, adding that “so do many colleagues”.
Former Cabinet minister John Redwood – who ran unsuccessfully against John Major – gave his support to May.
The prominent Brexiteer said: “I do not support Mr Shapps in his view that we need a Conservative leadership election.” He also cast doubt about the level of support Shapps claimed to have, pointing out they had “not spoken out or let their names be known”, he said.
“Unusually reticent rebels? Or they don’t exist,” he said.
George Freeman, chairman of the Prime Minister’s policy board, suggested that May should bring some fresh blood into her Government from the ranks of recently-elected MPs.
He said the “new generation of Conservative MPs” elected in 2010, 2015 and 2017 were “much more dynamic and energised and open to the way that we go about doing politics”.
Former minister Ed Vaizey was the first Tory MP to publicly suggest May should quit last week. He said: “I think there will be quite a few people who will now be pretty firmly of the view that she should resign.”