Theresa May’s reign as Prime Minister is on the brink with several Cabinet minister’s briefing the press suggesting she could be replaced by her de facto deputy David Lidington being installed as a caretaker prime minister. Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Conservative MP for Chingford and Woodford Green and Brexit supporter, Iain Duncan Smith hit out at the potential “Remainer cabal”. Mr Duncan Smith called for Cabinet ministers speaking to newspapers to be sacked by the Prime Minister.
Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said: “I think that’s appalling, I think they should be censured and some of them should be sacked.
“And the idea of a cabal, a cabal that never wanted to leave the European Union, turning out to decide what should happen over our future would be unacceptable to my colleagues.”
The former Conservative leader said the last week in politics has been “as close to a national humiliation as I think I’ve seen”.
Mr Duncan Smith also said any idea of a leadership election would create “complete chaos”, as he criticised the actions of Cabinet ministers.
I think that’s appalling, I think they should be censured and some of them should be sacked
Iain Duncan Smith
He said: “I think around the country, in the Conservative Party, and outside the Conservative Party there will be real disgust at the behaviour of some of our Cabinet ministers who are not fit for their positions if they behave like this.
“They should be apologising and they should shut up for God’s sake.”
When asked about whether he would back the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement, it if was returned to the Commons for a third time, Mr Duncan Smith urged colleagues to keep their options open.
He said: “I’m going to keep, and I recommend my colleagues do, keep their options open on this because we don’t know what’s happening this week, we’ve no idea what the alternatives are and whether people vote for this or not depends hugely on whether we are able to leave with no-deal or not or whether there is a change to this.”
Reports over the weekend suggest Mrs May could be ousted from Number 10 with either David Lidington, Jeremy Hunt or Michael Gove to take over.
Mrs May’s former policy adviser MP George Freeman said it was “all over for the PM”, tweeting: “She’s done her best. But across the country, you can see the anger.
“Everyone feels betrayed. Government’s gridlocked. Trust in democracy collapsing. This can’t go on. We need a new PM who can reach out (and) build some sort of coalition for a PlanB.”
The Sunday Times reported 11 Cabinet ministers had told the paper they wanted Mrs May to make way for someone else and that the Prime Minister’s de facto deputy Mr Lidington was in line to take over the helm.
But the Mail on Sunday reported ministers were trying to install Environment Secretary Michael Gove as a caretaker leader.
Speaking on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Chancellor Philip Hammond said changing the Prime Minister would not “solve the problem”, but he refused to be drawn on whether his colleagues had approached him asking him to make an intervention.
Asked about Mrs May’s de facto deputy being installed as a caretaker prime minister, Mr Hammond said: “That’s not right at all. My position is that this isn’t about individuals: this is about how we move forward.
“The Prime Minister’s deal is my preferred way forward but I’m realistic that we may not be able to get a majority for the Prime Minister’s deal and if that is the case then Parliament will have to decide not just what it’s against, but what it is for.”
It comes after the Prime Minister was granted an extension to the Brexit process by the EU27 last week after MPs voted for Mrs May to ask for a delay.
The EU27 agreed to Britain’s extension of the Article 50 process and said the date could be moved to May 22, if the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement is backed in the House of Commons.
If the Prime Minister’s Brexit withdrawal agreement is rejected by MPs, the extension will be cut short until April 12, when the UK will then have to set out its next steps, which will include leaving the EU with no deal or extending the process further.
Mrs May was expected to bring her deal back to the Commons next week, but on Friday evening, the Prime Minister wrote a letter to MPs suggesting she may not bring her deal back if there is not enough support for it across the House.
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