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That May will be removed as leader of her party before Brexit is still a possibility — 48 Conservative MPs, 15 per cent of the parliamentary party, would have to write to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, asking for a vote of no confidence in her leadership (as opposed to a vote of no confidence by the House of Commons in the government) and she would then have to lose the vote by Tory MPs, or win so narrowly that she believed she did not have sufficient authority to continue. May has now antagonised so many in her party that it is  even probable that she would lose such a vote if it were to occur. Both the Brexiteers in the European Research Group of MPs and the Remainer rebels around Dominic Grieve have little confidence or trust in her. What is more, many backbenchers who are not strongly on either side of the European debate believe that her leadership has been inept and needs to be brought to an end.

For Remainer dreams to survive, the Tories would then need to choose a Europhile leader. Almost all of the most-touted and favoured candidates are strong Leavers. If Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or Sajid Javid were elected as Conservative leader, Brexit would be in the hands of someone committed to the project, and the Remainers’ hopes would be thoroughly dashed. Javid supported Remain in the referendum, partly out of fear of the economic upheavals the Brexit process would bring and partly out of loyalty to his political mentor, former Chancellor George Osborne. Now that the process is under way, Javid is genuinely committed to Brexit. Jeremy Hunt, who is seen as a centrist candidate in a future leadership race, has also — perhaps less convincingly — stated that he has changed his mind since the referendum and would now campaign for Brexit.

The two most likely candidates as a Europhile Tory leader are Ruth Davidson and Tom Tugendhat. Davidson has the profile and might be embraced by the Tory membership if the party feels it needs a stark change — a 39-year-old Scottish woman in a same-sex relationship who is expecting her first child this autumn certainly does not fit with the preconceptions many hold of a potential Conservative leader. Davidson would, however, face two obstacles. She would have to break her pledge to lead the Scottish Tories into the next devolved Holyrood elections in 2021 and she would have to first become a Conservative MP. A politician should not find it too difficult to wriggle out of the first pledge — something about putting national interest first in this dangerous time, etc — and an ageing Tory MP with modernising sympathies in a safe constituency could probably be persuaded to stand down with the offer of a peerage. Tugendhat might appeal to Conservatives if they feel they need a fresh face who has not been tainted by the party’s lack of success of the last few years.
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Anonymous
July 1st, 2018
4:07 PM
Brexit will never happen. The European Project is to be protected at all costs and Alastair Campbell is leading the Resistance with his numerous friends in the lawyering community and those in the media he schooled in "news management" prior to the Blair Triumph. Those "in charge" of the European Project only have one goal, to stay "in charge" and do not care what damage they cause to the statelets. They have destroyed the economies of those in the Eurozone who relied on steadily devaluing their currencies, (the UK is also having to do likewise to pay for the NHS and other luxuries), but only care for the beauty of their Empire's outline.

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