Mark Francois letter: Conservative Brexiteer calls for ‘indicative vote’

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A Tory Brexiteer is calling for a “indicative vote of confidence” in Theresa May’s leadership for Conservative MPs.

Mark Francois, a member of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, has called on the PM to resign and for a vote if she does not. 

He wants the vote to be held on Wednesday in an attempt to scupper Mrs May’s plans to secure Article 50 extension in Brussels that evening. 

Mr Francois wrote to the chair of the backbench Tory 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady to request such a vote be held.

“We simply cannot go on like this, with a weak leader, a riven Cabinet and a party in despair,” he wrote. 

“I believe Theresa May has been a failure as leader of our party, which she now threatens to destroy. Hers is a classic example of hubris – and after hubris comes nemesis.”

A formal vote of confidence in Mrs May cannot take place until December or beyond after she survived an earlier attempt to oust her by 200 votes to 117.

Theresa May will head for last-ditch talks with Merkel and Macron on Tuesday (REUTERS)

This granted her a 12-month period of grace during which no challenge is permitted.

Sir Graham told last week’s meeting of the 1922 executive a proposal for an indicative vote had been put to him.

Sir Graham Brady previously said such a vote was possible but not appropriate (PA)

The executive decided that though possible for such a vote to be staged it was neither necessary nor appropriate to do so at this point.

In his letter, published by Brexit Central, Mr Francois vented his anger over Mrs May reaching out to work with Labour in a bid to breach the Brexit impasse. 

He said that it was “literally incredible” that Mrs May was discussing a possible compromise Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn and was contemplating European Parliament elections in which Tory candidates would be “slaughtered”.

“We are living in a world gone mad,” he said. “A Conservative Prime Minister, who voted Remain, egged on by a coterie of neo-federalist civil servants and a powerful Remainiac cabal in the Cabinet, has tried – and failed three times – to pass a draft treaty through the House of Commons which would lock us into a customs union forever.”

Meeting tomorrow: Theresa May and Angela Merkel (AFP/Getty Images)

Mr Francois spoke of his hope that the EU27 could “kick us out of the EU” by refusing another Article 50 extension. 

He added: “Enough is enough. If she goes by Wednesday we can Leave on Friday.”

Mr Francois’ criticism comes on the back of fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson raging at the PM. 

He said Tory MPs will not allow Theresa May to “surrender” to the Labour leader by asking Brussels for a “customs union” Brexit deal. 

After she spoke of a compromise deal with Labour, the former foreign secretary wrote in the Telegraph that such a deal “cannot, must not and will not happen”.

It comes as Mrs May plans to fly to Berlin and Paris on Tuesday for last ditch talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron. 

She will attend meetings with the pair to discuss a further Brexit extension which will be decided upon the next day. 



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