May Loyalists Urge Her to Fire Plotters

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Prime Minister Theresa May is being encouraged to fire disloyal ministers who risk tearing the government apart and handing power to Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn.
Several of the Conservative Party’s top officials are privately urging May to take a hard line with the plotters and get rid of those ministers responsible for anonymous briefings over the weekend against Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, according to one senior Tory lawmaker familiar with the matter and speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
May will use a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday to order her most senior colleagues to stop feuding with each other, after a weekend that laid bare the various factions at war.
While the prime minister is battling in the face of a handful of conspirators operating behind the scenes, May can still count on important allies who are backing her publicly.
“I wholly support the prime minister in her view that we must all, ministers and backbenchers, get on with the job in hand,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd told Sky News.
Rudd later told LBC Radio she fully expects May still to be premier in a year’s time.
The political upheaval caused the pound to drop on Monday and made for an uncomfortable backdrop for the Brexit negotiations under way in Brussels.
May’s difficulties have been stacking up since June’s disastrous election resulted in the Conservative Party losing its majority in Parliament and being forced into an uneasy alliance to cling on to power.
The chaos May faces at home complicates multifaceted divorce talks with 27 nations acting in unison.
Time is on the side of the EU, because if by March 29, 2019, there is no deal, the U.
will be ejected from the EU and trade will be subject to tariffs.
Back in Brussels Talks resumed in Brussels at 9 a.
-- without Brexit Secretary David Davis -- with a look at progress from Monday and continued focus on a financial settlement and citizens’ rights.
Back in London, May is under pressure to lay down the law as Parliament prepares to go into recess this month amid lots of gossiping over prosecco.
She survived as Tory leader after apologizing to her party and promising lawmakers in a private meeting she’d only stay on as long as they want her.
This move dissipated the immediate anger at the election result and seemed to have bought May time.
But in recent days a number of senior Tory ministers and their supporters are said to have been positioning themselves for potential leadership bids, two senior officials said.
One senior member of Parliament said May had lost all her authority as party leader and prime minister.
Plotters The factions said to be involved include allies of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, backers of David Davis, as well as campaigners promoting Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and International Development Secretary Priti Patel.
Hammond has become a particular target because he has been advocating a vision of Brexit that will minimize disruption for businesses, in part through a transitional period lasting several years.
Trade Secretary and Brexit campaigner Liam Fox was among the senior figures to condemn the infighting and private briefings over the weekend, suggesting that the feud would damage Britain in Brexit negotiations.
“Our backbenchers are furious and the only people smiling at this will be in Berlin and Paris,” Fox said Sunday on the BBC.
Allowing the division and infighting to continue risks fatally damaging the Conservatives in the eyes of voters -- and could lead to a fresh surge in support for Corbyn’s Labour Party, one official said.
A government minister said the individuals responsible for the briefings did not represent the majority of the party and should stay quiet because they were damaging the party’s image.
There are also senior Tories that are still rallying behind May.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told BBC TV’s Newsnight show on Monday evening that May is “in control.
” “If you sat around the cabinet table before the general election and you sat there after, you’d see the same person sitting there, the same composed personality,” Grayling said.
“I see someone who’s in control of her brief, very much doing the job of prime minister.

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