Senior Tories defend Theresa May in leaked Whatsapp messages

David Davis

David Davis

"The party must widen its appeal and the Prime Minister's clarion call for social justice - delivered as she first entered No 10 and again at the party conference last week - clearly set out a programme that, if implemented, can and will change perceptions and re-engage the millions who have turned away from us". "It would be better if she were to start the process, with a new leader before Christmas".

"I think there's an terrible lot of people in our party that need to settle down".

"It has never been my style to hide from a challenge and I'm not going to start now", the paper quoted May as saying.

"You're representative of all those politicians who haven't got the courage of their own convictions to stand up, look the Prime Minister in the eye and say "I think you should go".

Pressure on the prime minister has grown since her party conference speech was plagued by a series of mishaps, as she struggled with a persistent cough and was interrupted by a prankster.

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The Scottish Tory leader, who is popular among grassroots members across the United Kingdom and has been suggested as a possible successor to Mrs May, called on her party to "get its house in order".

It comes after a former minister said as many as 30 MPs were prepared to demand an immediate leadership contest in order to oust Mrs May.

In the last three years we have had two elections and a referendum. "Next week I am going to be updating MPs on my Florence speech, which has given real momentum to the Brexit talks, and I will also be introducing a draft Bill to cap energy prices, which will stop ordinary working families from being ripped off".

A message sent by Boris Johnson to fellow Conservative MPs has since been leaked, in which he told MPs to "circle the wagons and turn fire on Jeremy Corbyn".

She told reporters: "Now what the country needs is calm leadership, and that's what I am providing with the full support of my Cabinet".

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Mr Shapps said he was yet to write to the committee himself but would now take the formal steps.

Mr Johnson's intervention came after he faced calls to be sacked for destabilising the party following his intervention on Brexit on the eve-of-conference and his controversial remarks about Libya at a fringe event.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant described Mr Shapps as "embittered" while colleague Vicky Ford dismissed the Welwyn Hatfield MP as "completely out of touch", revealing "he's not even in our WhatsApp group".

Speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, she said: "You've seen some quite unfortunate shenanigans this week in terms of a couple of people trying to push, but the push-back has been pretty strong, we're behind the prime minister (and) she's the best person to lead us forward". They want assurances Labour will honour deals made with the Conservatives, the Telegraph said.

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