A Tory MP enraged by Theresa May’s decision to enter Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn has penned a three-page epic demanding a symbolic poll on the future of the PM’s leadership.
Brexiteer Mark Francois has written to the chairman of the powerful Conservative 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, saying he believes “enough is enough”.
It now “falls to the ‘poor bloody infantry’ of the Conservative backbenchers” to topple the prime minister, he wrote.
The controversial MP, known for his outspoken interventions on Brexit, wants Brady to force an informal vote of no-confidence in May’s leadership, meaning MPs could take part in a non-binding or ‘indicative’ vote.
MPs cannot trigger an official Tory party no-confidence vote in the PM until December – a year after she survived the last coup attempt, as per the party’s own rules.
But it is thought Francois’ letter may be the first of many from backbench Eurosceptics, despite Brady underlining on Monday that he had “no intention of proceeding” with any fresh vote.
Despite voting en masse to reject May’s deal, Brexiteers are in despair over the options now emerging: a potential year-long Brexit delay being imposed by the EU; a May-Corbyn compromise for a softer Brexit; and the UK potentially taking part in European parliament elections next month.
“I believe May has been a failure as Leader of our party, which she now threatens to destroy,” Francois, who is deputy chair of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs, writes.
“Hers is a classic example of hubris – and after hubris, comes nemesis.”
He also hit out at Brexit-backing cabinet ministers, who meet as part of the so-called “pizza club”, for doing what Francois claimed was “absolutely nothing (save consume vast quantities of pizza)”.
Nigel Farage confirmed on Friday he would lead his newly-formed Brexit Party to contest MEP elections in May, should MPs fail to agree any deal in the coming weeks.
Francois writes the former Ukip leader would ensure the Tories were “slaughtered” during the European poll.
“We simply cannot go on like this: a riven Conservative Party in despair. I believe Theresa May has failed as leader of our party, which she threatens to destroy.”
The letter comes as Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, signalled to Tory MPs that a compromise must be reached, with the customs union – the option which attracted the most support in the indicative votes process – emerging as the likely outcome
Wright told the BBC Radio 4 Programme on Monday, there was a “real urgency” to break the deadlock, adding: “We must make sure we’re all prepared to compromise to fulfil that primary objective.”
Talks between Labour and the government continue today.
May will travel to Brussels later in the week to make her case to EU leaders for a flexible extension - the proposed “flextension” would allow the UK to pull out should a deal be reached - to June 30.
However, the European Council could refuse and may instead offer a year-long extension with a break clause