With rumours over the finances of the Brexit Party gathering pace and the Electoral Commission not exactly giving Nigel “Thirsty” Farage’s new one-man show a clean bill of health, his pals must have been praying for the 24-hour news Speculatron to move on. And move on it has, because Theresa May has reached the end of her Prime Ministerial road. This time the Tories really have had enough.
Not even withdrawing the Tory whip from Michael Heseltine, who has decided he will vote Lib Dem tomorrow, has stopped the rot. It has, instead, merely accelerated the rush to find some way, any way, to remove Ms May from 10 Downing Street before she wipes out the Tories’ election prospects altogether. The party is polling at a level where it may not have any MEPs elected at all. For a Government party, that is unconscionable.
Those minds that have been focused most sharply include Paul Goodman at Conservative Home, whose post for the site today bears the stark headline “If May isn’t on her way out by the end of today, don’t back her in tomorrow’s European elections”. A Conservative site advocating voting - but not voting Conservative. And there was more.
Justine Greening, that most Remain of Tory MPs - as befits an ABBA aficionado - who has previously called for a second referendum, was not going to back the May deal. “Last July I said this Brexit deal was a fudge and the worst of all worlds. We’ve had 10 months of division instead of decision. Now even a second referendum is being fudged too. This deal pleases no one. I won’t be voting for it. Game’s up”. Ouch!
And the London Evening Standard, edited by former Chancellor George Osborne, which went out of its way to attack Sadiq Khan and promote the Mayoral campaign of Zac Goldsmith, is now deserting the Tories. Today’s editorial dismisses both the Tories and the new Farage Falange. It isn’t taken with Change UK. But the Lib Dems?
This is its conclusion: “They had the courage from the start to say the referendum result was a mistake - and Britain needed to think again. As a result, voters have started to think again about them … We wish them well”. Tory Standard backs Lib Dems.
With support haemorrhaging, many Tory MPs are now trying to find some way, any way, to force May out. Sky News political editor Beth Rigby suggests moves are being made: “[Cabinet] source tells me some in cabinet furious with May. Told what was agreed in room was not what she set out. Unhappy about promises on 2nd [referendum] My source reckons rule change coming, party about to move. ‘We’ve reached the tipping point’”.
There was more. “So, whether via her cabinet telling she has to go now, or via a 1922 [committee] rule change to force another confidence vote, the walls closing in on TM. She had wanted until June to try once more to get her deal across line. But looks like her party & cabinet aren’t going to let her”. For Theresa May to go before June, that would mean in the next nine days. She’s been hanging on for months. But now, it seems, it’s over.
The real problem, of course, is that the field to succeed her - and therefore become Prime Minister - is even less appealing than she is. Which means one thing has to happen next.
And that one thing is a General Election. Time for the Tories to face the music.
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