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3 Oct, 2018 10:28

Theresa May rocked by 'no confidence' letter ahead of crucial conference speech

Theresa May rocked by 'no confidence' letter ahead of crucial conference speech

A Tory MP has filed a letter of no confidence against his leader, Theresa May, in a shocking blow to her leadership minutes before her Conservative Party conference speech on Brexit.

Tory MP James Duddridge has handed in a letter of no confidence against May, citing the prime minister’s refusal to “rip up” her controversial Chequers agreement, and her rival Boris Johnson's "inspirational" speech, as his reasons behind the decision. 

The letter, which was handed to Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee, also cites a “disaster” of a Conservative Party conference. 

In his letter to Brady, Duddridge said that he is normally a loyalist, and has never voted against the government until now. “There comes a point that blind loyalty is not the right way forward,” he said, adding that the Tory party needs “a strong leader, someone who believes in Brexit and someone to deliver what the electorate voted for. The prime minister seems incapable of doing this.”

A total of 48 letters from Conservative MPs need to be issued to trigger a vote of no confidence.

The Conservative MP went on to add that he has not met another MP who thinks that Theresa May has the ability to lead the party into another election after “the last disastrous snap election."

In the letter, Duddridge admitted that while he was writing with a heavy heart, he called for a “proper leadership election” so the party can “move on.”

READ MORE: 'This is an outrage’ – Boris Johnson slams May’s Brexit plans in limelight stealing speech

Duddridge then cemented himself firmly as a backer of Boris Johnson in an interview with Sky News, describing Johnson’s Tuesday speech as “inspirational."

“We can have a transformational leader. We can have a different choice," the Rochford and Southend East MP said, adding that the party needs to “make the change now and let's get someone that believes in Brexit, delivering Brexit."

Duddridge's letter is the latest sign of rebellion against May, who has faced constant attacks from hard-Brexiteer MPs – including Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg – over her plans for leaving the EU. 

News of the letter came minutes before May is set to address conference in Birmingham.  

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