‘Tory MPs agree that May must go’ – Os­borne

Western Mail - - NEWS -

THERE is a “con­sen­sus view” among Con­ser­va­tive MPs that Theresa May can­not con­tinue as Prime Min­is­ter un­til the next planned gen­eral elec­tion in 2022, Ge­orge Os­borne has said.

The former chan­cel­lor at­tacked Mrs May’s Gov­ern­ment’s record, ar­gu­ing it was “los­ing eco­nomic cred­i­bil­ity” as it is hos­tile to business, “anti-tech” and pre­tend­ing it can build the homes the coun­try needs with­out eas­ing green belt re­stric­tions.

And he at­tacked the PM for a “big mistake” in telling the 48% of the coun­try who voted Re­main in the EU ref­er­en­dum to “shut up”, ar­gu­ing she felt a back­lash at June’s botched elec­tion.

Mr Os­borne said Mrs May would sur­vive a vote of con­fi­dence in the House of Com­mons, but stressed that was not the true test of the strength of her lead­er­ship.

At a West­min­ster lunch, he said: “The es­sen­tial ques­tion is go­ing to be – is there go­ing to be a change of lead­er­ship in this Par­lia­ment? The Con­ser­va­tive Party parliamentary party as­sumes there will be, the Prime Min­is­ter has said noth­ing about that.

“And at some point that is go­ing to come to a head.”

He added: “I would make the ob­ser­va­tion that it is the con­sen­sus view of the Con­ser­va­tive parliamentary party that the lead­er­ship should change.

“So at some point some­thing will hap­pen.”

Asked if he re­gret­ted his com­ment about want­ing Mrs May “chopped up in bags in my freezer”, which he has al­ready apol­o­gised for, the Evening Stan­dard ed­i­tor replied: “It’s taught me a few things about editorial con­fer­ence meet­ings.”

Mr Os­borne made pointed re­marks which ap­peared to be aimed at the May Gov­ern­ment, which took over from the ad­min­is­tra­tion he helped David Cameron run.

He said: “If you as a party set your­selves against the fu­ture, if we’re hos­tile to business, if we think they are the prob­lem, not the so­lu­tion, if the Cabi­net game be­comes who can get the most money out of the Chan­cel­lor, if we’re anti-tech, if we talk about build­ing homes but pre­tend they can only be built on brown­fields, then we will lose our eco­nomic cred­i­bil­ity and cause dam­age to our coun­try’s eco­nomic fu­ture.”

He said Mrs May’s ap­proach to Brexit had cost the Tories votes at June’s elec­tion, adding: “If you say to 48% of the coun­try, de­ci­sion over, we don’t want to hear from you again, 48% of the coun­try will make their voice heard.”

> Ge­orge Os­borne

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