May calls on Cameron to subdue Cabinet
Prime Minister warns her party to stop infighting and to concentrate instead on delivering Brexit
Theresa May has turned to David Cameron for advice as she prepares to call on potential rebels in her Cabinet to work together to deliver Brexit. The former prime minister was seen entering Downing Street and officials said the pair met after party discipline collapsed over the weekend.
THERESA MAY has turned to David Cameron for advice as she prepares to warn warring rivals in her Cabinet to stop bickering and work together to deliver Brexit.
The former prime minister was seen entering Downing Street and officials confirmed a private meeting between the pair had taken place after party discipline collapsed over the weekend, with Cabinet ministers briefing against each other to newspapers.
The open warfare resulted in Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, calling for his colleagues to stop spreading “tittletattle” while Iain Duncan Smith, the former leader, told ministers to “shut up for God’s sake”.
Speaking to Tory MPS at the party’s 1922 Committee party last night, Mrs May made it clear that the choice is between her or Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn as she warned them to curb the insults.
She said: “No backbiting, no carping. The choice is me or Jeremy Corbyn and no one wants him. Go away and have a proper break and come back ready for serious business.”
Backbench members including Graham Brady, the chairman, are understood to have given her their backing to sack unruly ministers in an unexpected show of support.
Nigel Evans, a member of the 1922 Committee who was present at the meeting, said: “It’s time for everybody to focus on the jobs they’ve got and stop hankering over other people’s jobs where there are no vacancies.”
The meeting with Mr Cameron, which was reportedly arranged before the public feud, is an indication that the Prime Minister is seeking advice from senior party figures as she battles with a wafer-thin majority in the House of Commons.
She will tell her Cabinet this morning that the vitriol must stop and meetings must be kept private from now on.
Yesterday Mr Cameron said he would send rebel Conservative Cabinet ministers down a “very, very dangerous river” to stop them further damaging the reputation of the party.
It is not the first time the two leaders have met since Mrs May took over, amid claims she is too weak to lead and reports of her own ministers plotting against her.
Senior Conservative MPS are said to be growing increasingly frustrated with claims of leadership rivalry and have warned “self-indulgent” Cabinet rivals they should immediately end the rows. Days of damaging newspaper headlines involving senior ministers criticising each other led the 1922 Committee to call on Mrs May, at a meeting last week, to reprimand or even sack ministers who talk out of turn. Mrs May will tell her senior team to end the back-biting and work together to deliver Brexit at a meeting of the Cabinet today.
She is also expected to reiterate to her colleagues, some of whom leaked details of the same meeting last week, that fighting could allow Mr Corbyn in to Downing Street and damage the country.
It came as Dominic Cummings, a key ally and former aide to Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, launched a stinging attack on David Davis, , the Brexit Secretary, calling him “as thick as mince” and “lazy as a toad”. The former head of the Leave campaign also accused Mrs May of failing to understand the Brexit Bill, announced last week.
Yesterday a Cabinet minister told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Hammond was deliberately trying to “frustrate” Brexit, while last week Mr Hammond was accused of saying public sector workers are “overpaid” and of making sexist remarks.
Last week MPS backing Mr Davis and Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, clashed at a party in London, reportedly claiming each would kick the other “in the b------s” if the briefings did not stop, according to The Sunday Times.