James Forsyth

How Theresa May could be toppled by cock-up rather than conspiracy

How Theresa May could be toppled by cock-up rather than conspiracy
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James Duddridge has chosen to take advantage of the run-up to the Prime Minister’s conference speech to announce that he’s sent a letter of no confidence in Theresa May to the chairman of the 1922 Committee Graham Brady. This is, to state the obvious, a stunt. I doubt it presages a more serious effort to get to 48 letters and by sending it in before May has even spoken, he has made it clear just how pre-meditated it all is.

Right now, the more senior figures in the ERG, the main Brexiter lobby in the party, don’t want a vote of no confidence in May. They calculate, correctly, that she would win it—and that would give her more room to make further compromises in the Brexit negotiations as she couldn’t be challenged for another year.

But one influential member of the ERG mused to me yesterday that there is the chance of a 48 letter cock-up, not conspiracy. His view was that there was a risk that enough frustrated individual MPs put their letters in to get to 48 before March, 2019. I still think this is unlikely, but if there are 48 letters this—rather than some coordinated Brexiteer effort—will be how it happens.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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