Home Secretary Sajid Javid ‘WILL launch leadership bid if Theresa May is unseated in aftermath of Brexit vote’ he tells allies as Tory rivals for No10 circle the ailing PM
- Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson may all launch party leadership bids
- Home Secretary has already started contacting potential cabinet supporters
- The planning comes as Theresa May prepares for the crunch Brexit deal vote
- She has been encouraged to move Tuesday’s vote but it looks set to go ahead
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has told allies he will launch a leadership challenge this week if the Brexit deal collapses and Theresa May is ousted as Prime Minister.
Mr Javid has reportedly begun to build a team of ministers to support his bid to become the first non-white Prime Minister, ahead of Tuesday’s crunch Brexit deal vote in Parliament.
The Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are both said to be sounding out potential supporters.
Boris Johnson, meanwhile, also hinted at a possible leadership bid after outlining his plans for another negotiation with the EU.
With Prime Minister Theresa May facing a crunch Parliament vote on Brexit in Parliament on Tuesday, several minister are said to be recruiting for leadership bids
Mr Javid has also reportedly made it clear that he would be able to support and manage a no-deal Brexit, an idea backed by the leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom.
And sources say that the 48 letters from MPs needed to trigger a leadership battle are likely to be submitted next week.
One Cabinet minister told The Sun: ‘Sajid is tapping us up. He is very direct, but he’s not offering jobs yet, which wouldn’t be a good look’.
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‘He told me that Theresa’s Brexit deal is s***, she’ll be forced out when it falls, and he is then going to declare immediately’, another senior Tory said.
It comes just days after Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was said to have been overheard in a London restaurant talking up the prospects of the Home Secretary by a political activist.
She is said to have told her companion Zack Polanski: ‘Sajid needs to be really ready to deal with that. It’s going to be Sajid or Jeremy for leader. The only one who could beat them with members is Boris’.
One Cabinet minister revealed that Home Secretary Sajid Javid was tapping up potential allies in a bid to become the first non-white Prime Minister
The former banker’s Commons aide Tory MP Simon Hoare and Treasury minister John Glen have allegedly spent two weeks recruiting Cabinet ministers.
Mr Glen told The Sun last night that he has talked up Mr Javid as a potential leader of the future to fellow Tory MPs, but also insisted: ‘I fully support the PM and the efforts she has been making. No vacancy exists at the current time’.
The news of leadership challenges come after the Prime Minister was reported as deciding against postponing Tuesday’s Brexit vote.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay insisted the vote will go ahead, despite fears that the government will suffer a heavy defeat.
Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, is also said to be sounding out potential supporters ahead of a leadership election
He also said that Mrs May would continue in office even if the government lost heavily.
This has led to fears among Brexiteers that Mrs May would then be unable to stop Parliament moving to a softer deal or even a second referendum.
They believe the defeat will propel a deluge of no confidence letters to Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers.
A former cabinet minister told the Times: ‘I would be astonished if we don’t get to 48 this week.’
Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, and the Home Secretary have both made it clear that he would be able to support a no-deal Brexit
Boris Johnson had earlier predicted that Mrs May will lose her crunch vote by a huge margin this week, as he told of the deep ‘personal responsibility’ he feels towards Brexit.
The former foreign secretary was among potential Brexiteer candidates on the fringes of the grassroots National Conservative Convention in Solihull at the weekend, an event that many saw as an early campaign opportunity.
Yesterday, Theresa May held a call with Donald Tusk as she considered delaying the crunch Brexit vote to squeeze more concessions out of the EU.
The PM spoke with the EU Council President just 48 hours before the Commons is due to decide the fate of her Brexit deal – and with it her probably her premiership too.
Earlier, Boris Johnson had also hinted at a possible leadership bid after outlining his plans for another negotiation with the EU
Number Ten remained tight-lipped about the deal, but Mr Tusk revealed it as he tweeted that it ‘will be an important week for the fate of Brexit’.
Amid growing signs she is set to suffer a massive and humiliating defeat in the Commons, Mrs May could kick the vote back and return to Brussels insetad.
She is is being urged to emulate Margaret Thatcher and have a ‘handbag moment’ to force the EU to ditch the hated backstop plan.
It comes as she warned her warring party to back her Brexit deal or risk handing the keys to No10 to Jeremy Corbyn and leaving the UK in the EU permanently.
The Prime Minister mounted the last-ditch bid to win over her mutinous backbenchers after over 100 Tories threatened to rebel in the crunch vote.
So what might happen next?
HOLD THE VOTE LATER
With more than 100 Tory MPs suggesting they will vote against the deal, together with Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP, a defeat tomorrow night seems most likely.
If Theresa May survives the aftermath and doesn’t quit – or if she delays the vote – she could go to Brussels this week to seek a better deal. This may involve a clear concession of a time limit on the backstop, or a unilateral exit mechanism for the UK.
A new Commons vote on the deal would then take place before Christmas. If the PM wins, Brexit goes through.
With Europe unlikely to provide the concessions Mrs May asks for, Tory backbenchers could decide to try to get rid of their leader. If a 48-letter threshold is reached, a no-confidence vote among Tory MPs would follow.
Mrs May could win this but if she does not challengers such as Boris Johnson would be able to enter the leadership fray. A more Brexit-friendly leader could go on to try to negotiate a looser Canada-style deal, which would involve more problems with the Irish backstop.
NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE AND ELECTION
Labour could table a motion of no confidence in the Government. This could even happen if the deal passes because the DUP – which props Mrs May up – has said it will not support the current agreement.
If the Tories lose a vote of no confidence – and if Labour is then unable to form a minority administration – a snap election would be held. This would raise the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn taking the keys to No.10 and attempting to negotiate his own Brexit deal.
THE NORWAY OPTION
If Mrs May’s plan is voted down, Parliament would start to assert control.
An MP could put down an amendment calling on Britain to join the European Economic Area, which allows non-EU members access to the single market. However, Labour has spoken out against such a deal, and Tory Brexiteers would oppose it because it means continued freedom of movement.
A Remain-supporting MP could put down an amendment calling for a second referendum on Mrs May’s deal. Such an outcome would require Brussels to agree to an extension to Article 50, meaning Brexit Day would be deferred.
This would require a Commons vote – but both parties promised to respect the 2016 referendum result in their manifestos last year. If a second vote is held, this could lead to Britain staying in the EU.
If Mrs May’s deal is defeated, and the EU does not offer any more concessions, then Britain could crash out without a deal. This would mean we would trade with our neighbours on WTO terms, with the possibility of medicine shortages and gridlock at ports.
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