Is there a plot to oust Theresa May?
By Joe Harker
Who'd want to run a country? It seems like being a leader is no fun at all, what with the sharpened knives everyone wants to plunge into your back. Theresa May might be feeling that way after claims surfaced about a plot to remove her from the Tory leadership, and therefore oust her as Prime Minister.
Former Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps has said that "the time has come" for May to go before a leadership challenge forces her out. Shapps would need 48 colleagues to assist him in triggering a vote of no confidence and there is the slight matter of who would run to replace the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson would be the most likely candidate, but he might have to contend with the popularity of Jacob Rees-Mogg. Regardless of who steps up as a challenger, Shapps believes that the main thing is Theresa May's departure. He said: "I think she should call a leadership election. The writing is on the wall.
"A growing number of 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."
The New Statesman outlines the Tory process for removing leaders, explaining that 15 per cent of MPs would need to request a vote of confidence. That magic number is currently 48, and if that threshold is crossed then May must set a date for the vote "as soon as possible". If she wins then there cannot be another vote for a year, but if she loses then she is obliged to resign and cannot stand in the subsequent leadership election.
The Prime Minister has responded by saying she has the "full support of her cabinet" and insisted that she was providing "calm leadership" that the country needed. With the poor showing at the 2017 general election and the ongoing Brexit negotiations, May's saving grace could be a need not to rock the boat any further. However, the Tories may have decided that they need to bite the bullet and replace an unpopular leader whose time as Prime Minister has been less than encouraging.
Writing for CNN, John McTernan suggested that the Prime Minister had to resign for the good of the nation. Since throwing away a majority in the general election she chose to call, McTernan believes she has been "robbed of political authority" and is doing more harm by trying to stay in power. Despite this, her departure might lead to yet another general election which the Tories would likely lose according to current polling. As detrimental as she might be, Theresa May holding onto her position might be the only thing keeping the Tories in government.