Tuesday

18th Jun 2019

Pro-Brexit Tories predict Cameron leadership challenge

  • The British Conservative party's eurosceptic rebels question Cameron's leadership (Photo: Georgina Coupe/Number 10)

British prime minister David Cameron could face a leadership challenge within his Conservative party over the EU referendum, two rebellious Tory MPs have suggested.

Andrew Bridgen and Nadine Dorries said that even winning the referendum would not prevent Cameron from facing a challenge in the summer.

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Bridgen told the BBC that Cameron's statements to persuade voters to remain in the EU were “outrageous” and that the PM had in effect lost his parliamentary majority.

"I honestly think we probably need to go for a general election before Christmas and get a new mandate from the people,” he said, adding that the Conservative party was deeply fractured.

Bridgen added that at least 50 Tory MPs felt the same way. If 50 MPs formally declare a lack of support, the party would call a vote of confidence.

Dorries told ITV that Cameron was lying in the EU referendum campaign and that she had already submitted a letter of no confidence against the prime minister within the party.

On Monday (30 May) another Tory MP, Sir Bill Cash, a veteran eurosceptic Tory, told The Daily Telegraph newspaper that Cameron's “monumentally misleading propaganda” was infuriating, and he was “certainly considering” submitting a letter calling for a confidence vote .

More senior Tory figures in the Brexit camp still backed Cameron, however, and insisted a confidence vote would not happen.

“I don’t think there are 50 colleagues gunning for the prime minister,” said Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, who is campaigning to leave the EU.

Observers say it is unlikely that Cameron will lose the party leadership if the Remain camp wins in the 23 June referendum, but a no confidence motion could weaken his authority.

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Column / Brexit Briefing

The Tories' last EU battle?

With eurosceptic MPs drawing knives on David Cameron, the EU membership vote has become a fight for the Conservative Party's soul on Europe.

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