LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is attempting to regain authority over her ruling Conservative Party after its annual meeting was overshadowed by disputes over Brexit and a power play by Boris Johnson.
May used her closing speech to call for unity at a conference marred by poor attendance and dissenting elected members who openly called for her resignation.
“If we come together, there is no limit to what we can achieve,” she twice told members, before playing down criticism of her Brexit proposals as “an exchange of different views.”
Six months before Brexit, May’s so-called "Chequers Plan" for the U.K.’s future relationship with the European Union has been rebuffed by leaders in Brussels — and savaged by Brexit hard-liners in her own party who want a much cleaner break from the EU.
“I want Theresa May to change policy on Brexit and chuck Chequers,” Andrew Bridgen, an MP who has called on May to quit, told VICE News. “If she won’t do that — my letter of no confidence is already in.”
Boris Johnson, May’s former foreign secretary, quit his post in protest over the Chequers plan and drew a standing ovation at the conference for a speech claiming May’s proposal would humiliate Britain by ceding too much control to the EU.
Conservatives can remove May as premier if 48 of their 315 MPs sign a motion of "no confidence" and more than half of them then support it in a vote. But some party members fear the crisis of confidence resulting from a leadership challenge could ultimately lead to a general election the party might lose.
This segment originally aired October 1, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.