Theresa May is facing an unprecedented push to remove her as Tory leader, with a petition by local party chairmen having triggered an extraordinary general meeting for a vote of no confidence.
The Conservative Party is very much a top-down organisation, with the mostly Remain-supporting Conservative Central Headquarters (CCHQ) having much more control over parliamentary candidate selection (and deselection) than local associations and ordinary members, and the parliamentary party having a similarly dominant role in appointing the party leader — and, in effect, the Prime Minister, in times when the Tories are in government.
Theresa May’s leadership was thus believed to be secure for 12 months after she survived a vote of no confidence by MPs in December, under the rules of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers — but, with Mrs May having used Labour votes to delay Brexit twice and her negotiations with the EU now effectively sub-contracted to hard-left Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, activists have launched an unprecedented bid to oust her.
Polls: 60 Per Cent of Tory Party Members, 40 Per Cent of Grassroots Councillors Will Vote for Brexit Party https://t.co/YbAhdVRmnb
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 22, 2019
Schedule 3, paragraph 13 of the Tory party’s constitution allows “a petition signed by not less than 65 Constituency Association Chairmen” to trigger “an Extraordinary General Meeting of the National Convention” at which a vote of no confidence in the party leader can be held — and such a petition has now been signed by at least 70 association chairmen, according to The Telegraph.
Dinah Glover, the London East Area Conservatives chairwoman who organised the petition, told the newspaper: “I am extremely sad that we have had to organise this petition to ask Mrs May to consider her position but it has become increasingly obvious over the last year that she has become the block to Brexit rather the solution.”
She said that chairmen now “fear Brexit will not be delivered under her leadership,” and that the country needs “a Prime Minister who believes in the benefits that Brexit can bring to our Country to lead us in the negotiations and out of the EU… Enough is enough.”
The part should now organise an Extraordinary General Meeting at which senior party officers will be able to vote, after receiving 28 days’ notice of its date.
Brexit Party Leapfrogs Labour, Tories to No.1 Spot In Shock European Election Poll https://t.co/3fOK0JGCZo
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 17, 2019