IT is hard to keep up with the implosion of the Conservative Party. On Friday evening the Telegraph reported: ‘Most MPs aren’t out canvassing for the May local elections. They’re hiding.’
Such is the fury in the Tory heartlands about the latest Brexit extension to October 31 pollster ComRes say the party stands to lose 41 MPs at the next general election. Of these, 29 are Leave seats. One MP in a Home Counties Tory stronghold admitted: ‘The voters are not very happy with Theresa. It’s become quite personal towards her. Some of the things being said were really quite horrible.’
‘People are saying they will not vote Tory so long as Mrs May is the leader,’ said another from the South West. We could have told him that before he ventured out from the Westminster bubble for his vacation.
John Strafford, the chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, says the situation is ‘absolutely dire’ (we can believe that) and that ’90 per cent of Tories will vote for the Brexit Party at the Euros’. No one is even bothering to canvass for the locals: ‘Never in my entire life have I known the Conservative Party to be in such a mess. It’s diabolical.’
As we reported last week, frustrated grassroots Conservatives have been agitating for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
Their petition is now on course to force the National Conservative Convention to hold an extraordinary general meeting where members could pressure the Prime Minister to resign. They need to get a move on.
Conservative Home’s latest polling confirms Strafford’s fears – three out of five Conservative Party members will vote for the Brexit Party in the European Election
None too soon, we hear, will Sir Graham Brady be paying Mrs May visit at Number Ten next week when he will ‘tell her that 70% of her MPs now want her to resign for botching Brexit and presiding over a collapse in Tory support.’
Meanwhile leadership contenders Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid seemingly blind to the turmoil, are keeping their colours nailed to May’s collapsing mast and preparing for an alliance with Labour to force her thrice rejected Withdrawal Agreement through.
Gove is reported to have been one of the key conduits, with Labour’s Seumas Milne, to initiating these Tory-Labour Brexit talks. What can the upside be for him of acting in defiance of both Cabinet and Party, precipitating a Farage surge and leaving Tory Brexiteers furious at having to face European elections in which they will be wiped out? It’s hard to see. ‘The referendum,’ one said, ‘was supposed to kill off UKIP – what May’s done over the last two weeks has dug up the corpse and put Farage’s face on it.’ To which Gove is now indelibly linked.
Urgency is not the ERG’s second name either. Instead of insisting on her immediate resignation, this weekend saw some demanding Mrs May return to Brussels to renegotiate. Really? If she was persuaded do they really believe she’d capable of getting her EU masters to change their minds? Only a new Brexit PM committing positively to an immediate No Deal exit could make that happen.
We at TCW are counting the days till they grasp this and topple Theresa while there is still a party left for any of them to lead.
Today is Day 18 . . .