MAJOR’S BLAST AT TREACHERY OF TORY REBELS
Ex-PM: Back valiant May or let in poisonous Marxists Even David Davis wanted Brexit ally Boris to be f ired
FORMER Prime Minister Sir John Major has told warring Tory MPs to stop trying to sabotage ‘valiant’ Theresa May – or see her overthrown by a ‘poisonous neo- Marxist’ government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
Sir John’s dramatic intervention in the Conservative leadership crisis came amid persistent rumours that Mrs May could be gone within weeks. Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, Sir John says he is dismayed by senior Conservatives ‘with their own agenda’ who were plotting against Mrs May – bound to be seen as a reference to the recent antics of Boris Johnson.
He writes: ‘I urge all Conserva-
tive MPs to reflect very carefully on what is at stake.
‘The country has had enough of the self-absorbed disloyal behaviour we have witnessed for weeks.’
And in a highly significant move, Sir John says Mrs May must be more bold if she wants to survive.
He calls for big changes in the Government’s ‘timid’ policies to counter Labour attacks on ‘heartless’ Tories, such as scrapping the ‘messy, unfair and unforgiving’ Universal Credit welfare reforms.
He also urges a big emergency rise in public spending to help the ‘have-nots’.
His comments come amid a series of additional blows to Mrs May’s hopes of restoring Tory unity and re-establishing her authority in the wake of her disastrous speech at the party conference in Manchester last week.
The Mail on Sunday can also disclose that:
Brexit Secretary David Davis wanted Mrs May to fire Mr Johnson for defying her over Brexit in the run-up to the conference;
Days before pledging to back Brexit in the 2016 referendum, Mr Johnson said he had to do so because he ‘couldn’t bear’ backing antiBrexit PM David Cameron;
Boris ally James Cleverly, who has pledged loyalty to Mrs May, was accused by rebels of secretly plotting to bring her down – until he was ‘ bought off ’ with a Government job. He denies the claim;
D owning Street kicked two Conservative MEPs out of the party for voting to block progress in Britain’s Brexit talks.
In his Mail on Sunday article, Sir John praises Mrs May’s ‘ valiant’ attempts to stay in control. He says he can recall the disastrous Left-wing Labour governments of the 1970s and describes the prospect of an administration led by two convinced neo-Marxists, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, as ‘the return of a nightmare’.
Most voters abhorred Corbyn’s views on the IRA and McDonnell’s economic plans would be ‘pure poison to any hope of prosperity’.
Mrs May’s alli es will be delighted that Sir John, whose own 1990s premiership was r i ven by Tory f euds, has denounced Mr Corbyn and Conservative rebels.
But they may be alarmed by his call for a massive shake-up in her policies and his claim that the Tories are seen as ‘ heartless’ by some because ‘Right-wing, pro-Brexit reactionaries’ controlled the party.
Justifying his plea for a big rise i n spending, Sir John warns that the Government’s current ‘piecemeal, timid, toein-the-water approach’ is not brave enough.
He argues that only drastic action will stave off the threat of Corbyn in No 10, starting by abandoning the new Universal Credit welfare system designed to streamline benefits, but which Labour says amounts to ‘backdoor cuts’.
A number of Tory MPs have warned that the system, due to be introduced nationwide soon, is in chaos, with the risk that some people may be left with no benefits.
It is unlikely to be lost on Conservative MPs that the architect of Universal Credit was former Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
Brexiteer Duncan Smith is a long-time foe of Sir John and played a leading role in antiEU revolts that contributed to Major’s Election defeat by Tony Blair in 1997.
In a scathing critique of Universal Credit, Sir John says it is ‘ theoretically impeccable’ but adds witheringly: ‘ It is operationally messy, socially unfair, and unforgiving.’
The Conservative Party must ‘show its heart again’ and dump the IDS benefits scheme. Sir John concedes such measures are a risk but insists Mrs May has no choice.
‘Barring the unexpected, we are soon to leave the frustrating but generally comfortable embrace of the EU and for the first time face the prospect of a neo-Marxist government.’
In a cry from the heart, Sir John says: ‘Many people are angry and fearful over what the future holds.
‘An uneasy nation is crying out for the Government to speak for them.’
A spokesman for Mr Davis said last night that the claim that he thought Mr Johnson should have been sacked was ‘tittle-tattle’.
Meanwhile, MEPs Julie Girling and Richard Ashworth were suspended from t he party for supporting a resolution to block Brexit talks moving forward.
‘Many are fearful about the future’