Conservative MPs who claim on TV they have formally called for Theresa May to face a leadership challenge are often not telling the truth, a senior Tory has claimed.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1992 committee, made the admission during a meeting on the fringes of the Tory conference in Birmingham on Tuesday evening.
“The distance between what some of my colleagues say they might have done and what they actually have done can be considerable,” he said.
He said there were “instances where I will see a Conservative colleague on the TV saying they have just written a letter to me when they haven’t”.
“Subsequently I will see them on the TV saying they have withdrawn the letter - which they have never sent in the first place,” Sir Graham said.
He added: “You have to be very very careful about what you believe.”
Under Tory leadership rules, 48 MPs must write a letter to Sir Graham to trigger a vote of confidence in the prime minister.
Sir Graham was speaking shortly after Boris Johnson delivered a thinly veiled leadership pitch to a crowd of over 1,000 Tory activists at the conference.
The former foreign secretary demanded that the PM “chuck” her Chequers plan for Brexit and even suggested those who authored it should face “prosecution”.
May told the BBC that Johnson’s speech made her “cross”, and that he had as usual put on a “good show”.