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‘The end is nigh’: May’s ministers mull temporary replacement in cabinet coup against PM – report

‘The end is nigh’: May’s ministers mull temporary replacement in cabinet coup against PM – report
Theresa May’s tenure as the UK prime minister could be over within days, amid reports that cabinet ministers angry at her handling of Brexit are seeking to oust her in favor of an emergency PM to see through a deal.

As over one million UK voters marched on the streets of London on Saturday to demand a “final say” on Brexit, cabinet ministers branded May as a leader whose judgment on the issue had gone “haywire,” according to the Sunday Times.

The paper said 11 ministers were willing to back an emergency change in leadership, adding that May will be confronted about the issue at a cabinet meeting on Monday. If she fails to adhere to the request, or is unable to soothe the cabinet’s concerns, she may face mass resignations.

News of the putsch comes after a tumultuous week for the prime minister. On Monday, May was told by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow that she would be unable to bring her EU withdrawal agreement to the floor for a third meaningful vote unless it contained “substantial” changes. It remains unclear whether such a vote will take place in the coming week.

Tempers further flared following a televised address to MPs on Wednesday, where a combative May blamed fellow MPs as the reason why the UK was not leaving the EU on March 29.

Speaking of their frustration with May, one minister said: “The end is nigh. She won’t be prime minister in 10 days’ time.”

Another noted that while the current political climate was “inherently volatile,” they believed things would settle down with a change of leadership.

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Favorites to replace May as the interim prime minister include Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington, who is effectively May’s deputy PM. Others have pointed to environment secretary Michael Gove or the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt as potential picks. A permanent leadership contest for the Conservative Party would then be held in the autumn.

One backer of Lidington said if May was to resign, there would be more support for her deal among hold-out MPs, preventing the UK from crashing out of the bloc with no deal. “David is someone who could command credibility and trust, and constitutionally he is the deputy,” they said.

Lidington later dismissed reports of a palace coup against May or his desire to take over as emergency prime minister. “I don’t think that I have any wish to take over from the PM,” he told reporters before adding that he thought May was “doing a fantastic job.”

No 10 too has remained defiant, saying in a statement that May wouldn’t be persuaded to step down. Nor would she relinquish control to give greater responsibilities to cabinet members in what would be effectively a “job share” of her role with other ministers.

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