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Conservative plotters told to get behind May amid Brexit fears

Senior figures have rallied round May, but the open rebellion coincides with Britain's talks with the EU

Michael Holden | Reuters 

Theresa May
UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: Reuters

Lawmakers in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s who are trying to oust her as leader have been told to “put up, shut up” by the party’s chief in Scotland.

Others in the party warned that the uncertainty over May was damaging Brexit negotiations with the May on Friday said she would remain as leader after a former Conservative chairman said he had garnered the support of 30 lawmakers who wanted her to quit.

It followed a disastrous speech at the party’s conference and a snap election in June in which May lost her party’s majority in parliament. Senior figures have rallied round May, but the open rebellion coincides with Britain’s crucial talks with the just 18 months before Britain is due to leave.

EU officials and diplomats have been stepping up preparations for a collapse in Brexit negotiations while one British newspaper reported on Saturday European negotiators were increasing talks with the opposition Labour Party amid concerns May’s government will flounder.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is considered a possible successor should May be forced out, told the BBC the prime minister’s critics should “put up, shut up and get off the stage”. “I would tell my party to get its house in order, get together, knuckle down, and make sure that our first commitment, last commitment and only commitment is to the country,” she said.

Her message came after former party chairman Grant Shapps toured media studios calling for a leadership election. Shapps said 30 Conservative lawmakers backed his view, well short of the 48 needed to trigger a contest.

First Published: Sun, October 08 2017. 01:26 IST