Theresa May to meet with backbench Tory MPs after election fallout

Theresa May is facing a showdown with Conservative MPs amid anger over the way the party saw its majority wiped out in the UK's General Election.

The Prime Minister sought to stave off another Tory civil war ahead of her appearance before the backbench 1922 Committee by bringing former justice secretary Michael Gove in from the cold less than a year after she sacked him.

His appointment as Environment Secretary came after former chancellor George Osborne branded her a "dead woman walking", warning that she could be ousted from No 10 in a matter of days.

However other senior Tories - including Graham Brady, the influential chairman of the '22 - predicted MPs would rally round, insisting there was no mood in the party for a damaging leadership contest which could see them plunged into a fresh general election.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson brushed off claims he was plotting a fresh leadership bid, insisting that he fully supported the Prime Minister.

"To those that say the PM should step down, or that we need another election or even - God help us - a second referendum, I say come off it. Get a grip, everyone," he wrote in an article for The Sun.

"The people of Britain have had a bellyful of promises and politicking. Now is the time for delivery - and Theresa May is the right person to continue that vital work."

Mrs May signalled that she still intended to serve a full term.

"I said during the election campaign that if re-elected I would intend to serve a full term," she told reporters in No 10.

However many Tories are adamant that she cannot lead them into another general election after her disastrous showing last week at the ballot box.

Mr Brady indicated that she would have to ditch much of her controversial election manifesto in a "slimmed down" Queen's Speech on June 19 setting out the new Government's programme.

The Daily Mail reported that plans to scrap the triple lock on pensions, means test the winter fuel allowance and repeal the ban on foxhunting were all set to go.

Proposals to overhaul the funding of social care - dubbed the "dementia tax" by opposition parties - and expand the number of grammar schools were also said to be being heavily watered down.

The return to the Cabinet of Mr Gove - who clashed bitterly with Mrs May over tackling extremism when they were in Government together under David Cameron - will be seen as an attempt to head off any challenge from the Brexiteer wing of the party.

At the same time she has brought in the more emollient figure of Damian Green as First Secretary of State - a title often associated with the role of deputy prime minister - based in the Cabinet Office, in a limited reshuffle of her top team.

It follows the resignations of her co-chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill whose abrasive style upset ministers and who were blamed by many in the party for the abysmal election campaign.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon disclosed that senior ministers had confronted Mrs May and told her she had to change the way she operates.

The Prime Minister was doing her utmost to signal that it was business as usual, announcing that she would be heading off to Paris on Tuesday for talks with French president Emmanuel Macron.

However she still faces a potentially tricky meeting the same day with Arlene Foster, the leader of the North's Democratic Unionists (DUP), to finalise a deal on propping up her minority government.

There were warnings she would have to soften her stance on Brexit, as the DUP have been adamant that they cannot afford to leave the EU without a deal as it would mean a return to a "hard border" with the Republic.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Mr Brady said the overriding mood within the Conservative Party was one of realism and recognising they had not got the result they wanted.

He said: "The Conservative Party and this parliament, and this Prime Minister have got a huge task to do on behalf of this country.

"It has been made much more difficult by the result of the election being so close."

He added: "I think we have a job to do and the job is try to provide the most steady government we most possibly can."

Asked if Mrs May had failed, Mr Brady said: "No; I would accept that the election campaign was one of the worst that I can recall."

He added that he was going to do what he thought was in the national interest, and that was to keep the Prime Minister in office.


 

Most Read in World