Brexiteer Mark Francois Calls for ‘Indicative Vote’ on Theresa May’s Leadership

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 21: British Prime Minister Theresa May departs after speaking to the media at the end of the first of a two-day summit of European Union leaders on March 21, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. Leaders will discuss May's request for an extension of the deadline for the …
Sean Gallup/Getty

Mark Francois MP has called for an “indicative vote” on the Conservative Party’s confidence in Theresa May, the Brexiteer writing to the backbench 1922 Committee, “Enough is enough! If she goes by Wednesday we can Leave on Friday.”

Due to Tory Party rules Mrs May’s survival of a vote of no confidence in December rendered her immune from another leadership challenge for 12 months; however, Mr Francois has called on 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady to consider “an informal ‘Indicative Vote’ of confidence in the Prime Minister” to be held Wednesday afternoon, “so that colleagues have an opportunity to demonstrate that they have lost faith in her leadership.”

The vice chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) warned Sir Graham, in text seen by website Brexit Central, that the “officer class” of the party was at risk of allowing the United Kingdom to be “forced into a Customs Union” by the Labour Party, “which would effectively mean we remain in the EU, utterly contrary to the spirit of the 2016 Referendum and the democratically expressed wish of the British people.”

Mr Francois wrote that if backbench Tories were able to express in an indicative ballot “that they have lost confidence in the Prime Minister” in advance of European leaders meeting to discuss granting a further Brexit delay, “I believe that under those circumstances it is extremely unlikely that the European Council would grant an extension and we would, therefore, leave the European Union on Friday night, as so many Tory MPs so obviously want.”

The Press Association reports that Sir Graham had told the 1922 Committee last week that a proposal for an indicative vote had been filed with him, but that the backbench group’s executive had deemed it neither possible nor appropriate for the vote to be held.

Francois’s letter also warned that May’s handling of Brexit puts the “existential future” of the party at risk, and called the Prime Minister “a weak leader” who was leading “a riven Cabinet and a Party in despair.”

“I believe Theresa May has been a failure as Leader of our Party, which she now threatens to destroy,” he said.

The eurosceptic added that, in the short term, Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage “and his nascent Brexit Party are clearly licking their lips at the prospect of fighting European Elections, during which, in the current climate, our MEP candidates would likely be slaughtered.”

A similar prediction was made by fellow ERG member Priti Patel MP, who told talkRADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer on Monday that she believes “the major political parties will do very badly” in European Parliament elections, “including the Conservative Party.”

“In terms of democracy and the standing of democracy, the British public are not that complimentary. People are losing their faith in the political process and in political parties. This is because they are seeing that their vote counted for nothing because of the way MPs are behaving over Brexit,” Ms Patel added.

A survey by the Hansard Society published Monday also found that people’s opinions of the British political system was at a 15-year low, with 63 percent of respondents saying that the government is rigged in favour of the rich and powerful while 47 percent “feel they have no influence at all over national decision-making.”

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