Monday, 30 May 2016

The Independent: Tory MPs are preparing to challenge David Cameron’s leadership – even if they know they’ll fail

The Independent: Tory MPs are preparing to challenge David Cameron’s leadership – even if they know they’ll fail

by John Rentoul

Let us just remind ourselves of the rules, though. To mount a leadership challenge, 15 per cent of Tory MPs must ask the Chairman of the 1922, in writing, to hold a vote of no confidence. That is 50 MPs. So far we know of one, Dorries.

There may be another 49 who dislike Cameron enough to write to Brady. The letters are confidential – unless you go on TV and announce them – and Tory MPs trust Brady to keep them so. Cameron is surprisingly unpopular for a leader who has delivered his party into government for at least 10 years. Nearly half of his parliamentary party want to leave the EU and will feel that Cameron has let the nation down by fixing it for Remain – that is, by running a ruthlessly effective campaign in what he sees as the national interest.

Then you get to the next stage, which is the vote of confidence itself. Maybe there are 50 Tory MPs who are headbangers, but are there 165? That would be the number required to produce a tie in the parliamentary party of 330. Formally, I assume a tie means that the status quo prevails, but in practice it would be the end of Cameron’s leadership.

But there are not anything like 165 Tory MPs who would bring down a leader who had just won a referendum and replace him with, in all likelihood, Boris Johnson, who had just lost it.

It's a wet bank holiday; Cameron is not going anywhere.

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