James Forsyth

Mounting speculation that the 48 letters are in

Mounting speculation that the 48 letters are in
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The talk in Tory circles this evening is that the 48 letters are in. Two putative leadership campaigns are saying they are. But, perhaps more significantly, so is one close ally of the Prime Minister. There has, though, been no word from Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee. However, we wouldn’t expect him to say anything until he has spoken to Theresa May directly.

If the letters are in, expect a quick vote. Tory MPs are on a three-line whip for Thursday and that would be the obvious time to have it. I think there is very little chance of Theresa May resigning before any vote. One long-time backbench ally of hers says that she is in ‘defiant mood’.

It is, of course, worth remembering that the only person who knows for certain whether the letters are in is Sir Graham Brady—and we know from earlier episodes that the estimates other people make of the number of letters he has can be off. But there is a sense, even among those who don’t want it to be true, that the mood in the parliamentary party is now worse for her than it has ever been before.