UK's May seeks to rally party as Brexit pressures mount

Minnie Murray
October 3, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May will try to salvage her Brexit strategy on Wednesday when she takes the stage at the Conservative Party conference to fend off rising opposition to her plan and hang on to her shaky leadership.

In his speech at the Tory conference in Birmingham today, Mr Johnson will call on Mrs May to "chuck Chequers" after he earlier controversially described the plan as "deranged".

May belong, Mr. Johnson repeatedly attacked the prime minister's plan for quitting the European Union.

But she told the BBC: "There are one or two things that Boris said that I'm cross about".

But he warned: 'If we cheat the electorate - and Chequers is a cheat - we will escalate the sense of mistrust.

"We must show everyone in this country that we are that party", Mrs May will declare.

And after a day in which Boris Johnson stole the show at the conference with his "Chuck Chequers" onslaught, the Prime Minister will attempt to re-assert her authority.

Mr Johnson said that Mrs May's Chequers blueprint - which ties Britain to a common rulebook with the EU for trade in goods - would be "politically humiliating for a £2 trillion economy" and would subject the United Kingdom to European directives and rules.

Johnson, the figurehead for the campaign to leave the European Union and the bookmakers' favourite to replace May, has become the loudest critic, warning Conservatives that if they supported Chequers they could be signing up to the party's electoral death.

Speaking to BBC Radio from the Conservative Party annual conference, May was asked how long she expected to remain in charge of the country and her party.


His fellow Scottish Conservative MP, Ross Thomson, was among those to greet Mr Johnson at the event.

But while Johnson may be holding his fire on the leadership for now, he gave both barrels to May's Brexit plan and set out his vision for the Conservative Party - one that returned to its traditional values of low taxes and a strong police.

He also said he and his son would do "anything we can" to help Ms Dugdale if necessary.

"He's too volatile", said Alison Jolley, a party member from just outside Birmingham who cheered loudly for Mr. Johnson during his speech and laughed uproariously at his jokes.

He claimed that "enough mess has been created" by Brexit already, adding "let's stop it", before deploring the actions of the Conservative Party in recent weeks as "insane".

Ms. May has held back on criticizing Mr. Johnson, but on Tuesday, she said his speech had made her "cross".

"He is absolutely right about the threat that Chequers poses to our democracy, our country and ultimately the fortunes of the Conservative Party if we stick with it", Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative lawmaker, said. May's plan during a speech to around 1,500 party members.

Mr. Johnson is a major figure in the party and esteemed by many Tories as a guiding light on Brexit.

Brexit negotiations are at a "really critical point" and people should support the prime minister, he said.

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