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TORY Brexiteers led by Jacob Rees-Mogg are reportedly plotting to oust Theresa May as prime minister over her unpopular Chequers plan for leaving the European Union.
Around 50 Conservative MPs attended a meeting yesterday of the European Research Group (ERG), where a possible leadership challenge is said to have been discussed.
For around 50 minutes, the matter at hand was “how best do we get rid of her,” according to an account given by one of those present to ITV political editor Robert Peston, who posted it on Facebook.
The source said: “Comments included: ‘Everyone I know says she has to go … she’s a disaster … this can’t go on.
“You might think that this is usual far for us, but it’s not! Not in the mass weekly meeting, never in what’s basically a public forum.
“The truly amazing thing was they spoke about it so openly, in such an unabashed way, even though they could see the whips’ sneak sitting there.
“No-one, in a room of 50 Tory MPs, even raised a squeak of objection. Not even a murmured pretence as good form … We were in the Thatcher Room to add piquancy.
“It was truly mind-blowing. You felt the ground opening up under your feet. The most amazing thing was that no-one even bothered to mime a pretence of regret.”
At today’s launch of the ERG plan to avoid the return of a hard border in Northern Ireland, Mr Rees-Mogg, who chairs the group, insisted that he was seeking a change of policy, not of leadership.
His comments were echoed by former Brexit secretary David Davis and former Brexit minister Steve Baker, who both quit the government over the Chequers plan, which would maintain a “common rule book” with the EU for trade in goods and agriculture.
At the ERG meeting yesterday, a number of MPs are also understood to have said they had already handed letters of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, while others suggested they could follow suit.
Under Tory rules, if 48 MPs – 15 per cent or the parliamentary party – submit letters, a confidence vote is triggered.
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