- Junior ministers believe May is a “lame horse” propped up by senior members of her cabinet.
- Secret circle of MPs plot to topple her before party conference.
- Pressure mounts to move against May as new poll finds Labour with 8 point lead.
- Many MPs are reluctant to do anything that would cause another general election.
LONDON — Theresa May is a “lame horse,” prime minister supported by a “selfish” cabinet, Conservative junior ministers reportedly believe, as they threaten to resign in an attempt to make the prime minister step down before the Tory conference.
Lower-ranking members of the government have told the Daily Telegraph that they are becoming furious at the way that May is being treated by her cabinet, with senior ministers speaking publicly against government policy and “pushing the prime minister around like a rag doll.”
One junior minister told the Telegraph that they were considering resigning so that a leadership contest can be triggered, replacing May before the Conservative conference in October.
Others told The Sun that there is a “secret circle” of lower-rung minister considering whether to topple May in the coming weeks and months.
The row over the public sector pay cap has seen Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove speak publicly about scrapping the policy, as Chancellor Philip Hammond attempts to maintain current levels of austerity, saying the government must “hold its nerve.”
On Wednesday May refused to say that she would bend to the pressure to lift the cap, instead saying that the UK would end up like Greece if it followed Labour’s economic policy.
A government source told The Sun: “Selfish cabinet ministers are simply putting their own ambition before the country — it’s self-indulgence and there is going to be backlash.”
David Davis and Boris Johnson have been touted as favourites to replace the prime minister as Conservative leader, but it is thought the cabinet will not act to remove May over fears it could trigger a general election, which Labour could win,
The ministers claim that the government is “doing nothing” and “going nowhere” as Labour become ever more popular, being eight points ahead in the latest YouGov poll.
The prime minister has been under pressure since her plan to call a snap election failed and get a huge majority failed, leaving her with a minority government and only 317 seats.
Both of May’s chiefs-of-staff were forced to leave Downing Street, leaving one minister to comment: “It has become increasingly clear that Nick [Timothy] and Fi [Fiona Hill] were running the country and now they are gone we are all kicking around and doing nothing. It’s terrifying”
On Monday the former work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb said that cabinet ministers like Johnson should resign from the cabinet if they are unable to support government policy.
Speaking on the BBC’s World At One, Crabb said: “If they want to take a position that is different from that of the official government line, then they should not be in the cabinet.
“I do think that if you are in the cabinet, if you are taking the government’s shilling, then you need to stick rigidly to the government line.”