12/09/2018 09:50 BST

Michael Gove Tells Tory Plotters To 'Get Behind' The PM

"At the moment the prime minister is Theresa May."

TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images

Michael Gove urged the Conservative Party to get behind Theresa May after as many as 50 of her MPs spent nearly an hour discussing how to oust her at a private meeting.

The environment secretary and leading Brexiteer said any plotting by Tory backbenchers was just “loose talk” and “squally weather”.

“I would urge everyone to get behind the prime minister, I think she is doing a great job at the moment,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

“It is critically important that we ensure that we get a good Brexit deal and then we deliver on the will of the British people.”

Gove, who infamously doomed Boris Johnson’s 2016 leadership bid by standing against him, refused to say if he would serve under the former foreign secretary.

“At the moment the prime minister is Theresa May,” he said. “I am serving under Theresa May and I want her to carry on as prime minister for as long as possible.”

Johnson has stepped up his criticism of May’s Chequers Brexit plan in recent days amid renewed speculation he will challenge the PM for the Tory leadership.

Around 50 MPs reportedly discussed ways and means of getting rid of May at a gathering of the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) last night.

A number of MPs told how they had already submitted letters of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, and others discussed plans to follow suit.

If 48 letters are handed over, a vote of no confidence would be triggered.

Downing Street on Tuesday reiterated that Chequers was “the only serious, credible and negotiable plan which is on the table which both delivers on the will of the British people and which prevents the imposition of a hard border in Northern Ireland”.