The leadership of the Conservative party

Many members of the Conservative party are feeling let down that we are still not out of the EU. They warmed to the Prime Minister’s approach that no deal is better than a bad deal, and accepted her assurance we would be out by 29 March 2019. Many Conservative MPs are unhappy about the plunge in the polls brought on by the news that we might be holding European elections after all, and by the fall in the general polls following announcement of delay in getting out.

There are moves to see if the question of the leadership can be revisited before the expiry of a year since the last confidence vote in Theresa May. Some MPs and some members of the voluntary party with their Associations are looking at what scope there is under the rules to test support again for the Prime Minister. It is reported that sufficient Associations have demanded the matter be examined by the party Board. Many MPs are sending letters to the Chairman of the 1992 Committee demanding action.

Mrs May herself has said she would resign as leader after the Withdrawal Agreement has gone through. She said nothing about what she would do if it did not. It is looking increasingly unlikely it will go through, as Labour have many difficulties with the Political declaration and the future partnership which is an integral part of the Agreement. As a result there is doubt about her intentions. Nor has she stated a definite leaving date were the Agreement to go through. Her wish to get it through with Labour votes is also unpopular with many Conservatives.

I do not favour the attempt to broker a deal for the PM to step aside in return for getting through a bad Agreement. I am urging the PM to lead us out on May 22nd, by cancelling the European elections. Under the Extension Agreement with the EU we would then automatically leave on May 22nd. We should offer further talks to secure more agreements on a range of things, led by tabling a free trade proposal, to start as soon as we leave.

If the Prime Minister did this the difficult problem of the European elections vanishes, and the Conservatives would go back up in the polls as Leave voters returned, grateful that we will be out on May 22nd. If she does not do this a very unhappy party will look for a legal means under its constitution to force a meaningful vote of confidence in the Prime Minister.


  1. Pominoz
    April 23, 2019

    Sir John,

    As ever a most understandable summary of a complex situation. Thankyou.

    I hope you are correct that the putrid WA is unlikely to be approved in Parliament. The withdrawal process was always a two stage affair. First leave, then agree a future trading relationship. Mrs May is trying to tie our hands during the second phase before even delivering the first. This is ludicrous and must be down to incompetence or part of a plan to defy the Leave voters.

    I might be simple-minded, but if we just get out on WTO terms, then the full range of options regarding the future relationship remain on the table and there are already provisional arrangements in place to ensure that trade is relatively unaffected in the short term. Why should Remainers object to this?

    Important, though, to get the right leader in place to take matters forward. As I said yesterday – you’ll do just fine.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 23, 2019

      JR policies are what is needed. A leader who actually wins elections is needed. It should not be that hard against Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP. But repairing the massive damage done by May, Hammond x2, Clarke x 2, Grieve, Hunt and most this dire lefty Cabinet of No Nation Conservatives will not be easy.

    2. oldtimer
      April 23, 2019

      At the core of the UK’s problems is Mrs May. Having spent her political life climbing the greasy pole to become PM, she will not go easily but, most likely will have to be dragged kicking and screaming from No 10. But she is not the only problem. Conservative MPs are also split. And the House of Commons is divided. In these gridlocked, deadlocked circumstances a General Election is needed to attempt to resolve matters. This may or may not succeed but it would probably deliver some benefits. Included would be the opportunity for frustrated voters to change PM, Speaker and many MPs. The current parliament is not fit for purpose; I have come to the conclusion it has outstayed it’s welcome, only sustained by its self serving five year rule.

      1. Mark B
        April 24, 2019


    3. Peter Wood
      April 23, 2019

      If you want to know what’s wrong with the Parliamentary Conservative Party, listen to the Rt. Hon. Rory Stewart on the Today Programme. – A performance that will make sensible people’s skin crawl! The Cabinet is just rotten, from PM down.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 24, 2019

        Indeed or Brandon Lewis on Iain Dale. They seem to be May’s chief turd polishers. Had we had a honest PM with vision and a working compass such pointless turd polishing would not be needed. It is doing no good anyway.

    4. Hope
      April 23, 2019

      Third paragraph second sentence incorrect. Traitor May said she would go if your party did not want her. Her second claim to go was if her servitude plan was agreed. May failed the first pledge as it is clear her party and the country want her gone. So why believe the second claim? She has record for lying.

      However, May has stopped associations getting rid of Remain fanatic MPs who lied to get elected, threatened to collapse the govt and another to destroy your party! People like Grieve, Allen, Boles, Letwin etc. Bizarre. What organisation would not sack employees for making such comments or lying to get their job bringing their organisation into disrepute? Name one? So why would she go if she prevented others in a similar position when they were not wanted?

      Again, May’s behaviour is beyond disgraceful she is becoming a despot who will stay in office no matter what. Venezuela president has nothing on her! Her servitude plan voted down by historic numbers and brought back twice more! EU trade mark.

      The second claim is beyond parody. She will resign for getting the EU plan through parliament! It is so bad she will resign. Have you lost Leave of your senses to believe or trust her?

      I suspect May will promise the world to Labour this week. If she gets their support remember your party legitimised Corbyn. Do not forget that. Do not moan about him when May is currently seeking to be in coalition with him.

      Ken Clarke never votes to leave the EU or against it. Clarke has voted for May’s servitude plan! Ask yourself why he would do this after a career life time of putting the EU before our country? Help getting rid of Thatcher, doing his best in making sure remain MPs become leader or PM. Stand on a platform with Blaire to get the Euro, ERM where businesses went bust thousands lost their homes and decades in opposition. All worth it to him. It speaks volumes that the servitude plan is definitely not Leave Ken Clarke would not vote for it.

      Associations need to withdraw all support immediately. No donations, canvassing, telephoning. Nothing. You have no vote vooice and no say. May will force You to accept MPs who want to destroy your party or threaten to collapse your govt?

      1. Hope
        April 23, 2019

        When is Scruton to receive an apology from Brokenshire and the govt and offered his job back?

        1. Hope
          April 23, 2019

          Thought police over active again.

    5. Andy
      April 23, 2019

      This is not true. The EU has made clear it will not discuss a future relationship unless the UK signs the withdrawal deal. This will not change if we leave without a deal. It just makes a permanent no deal the default option.

      For the rest of your life you will then have to justify to your children and grandchildren why you were prepared to commit such a pointless act of self-harm against our country and their futures.

      1. Edward2
        April 23, 2019

        WTO rules will do just fine Andy.
        Suited Japan for decades.
        Notice any shortages of Japanese goods in Europe or UK?

      2. InoffTheRed
        April 23, 2019

        How strange, I was trying to think how it would be possible to explain to future generations how Brexit was foiled thereby chaining them to the EU and all that follows from the Lisbon Treaty, no veto, increased financial contributions, EU determined taxation policies, commitment to join the euro, centralised control of UK fishing grounds, Shenghen, effective loss of democracy as rule passes to unelected Eurocrats, EU determination of refugee quotas etc etc

        1. Tad Davison
          April 24, 2019


          I can think of quite a number of blinkered pro-EU MPs as well as besotted remainers who are unable to see the bigger picture who ought to read that reply]. Hope you post more often.

    6. Ginny Martin
      April 23, 2019

      Can’t disagree with anything said here, thanks – and I happily endorse it!

    7. Tad Davison
      April 23, 2019

      ‘Mrs May is trying to tie our hands during the second phase before even delivering the first. This is ludicrous and must be down to incompetence or part of a plan to defy the Leave voters.’

      Upon hearing her Lancaster House speech, I wanted to believe in May, but in the weeks that followed, I listened to her back-sliding and appearing to compromise on a number of key issues with her subtle usage of ambiguous weasel words. This had the smell of a con-artist about it. I soon concluded that May never once intended to fulfil her promises to the British people that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and that ‘we will be leaving the European Union on the 29th March’.

      Things got watered-down thereafter. We must therefore conclude that it was a plan to defy the Leave voters all along. She was just looking for an opportunity to stop Brexit, and was merely stringing everybody along in the hope her chance came.

      We must ask ourselves this pertinent question, would we load the cabinet with hard-line remainers like Hammond, Rudd, and Liddington, when we really wanted to deliver a ‘leave’ outcome?

      Instead, May cynically undermined the Brexit process at every juncture giving unelected pro-EU civil servants the responsibility to negotiate over elected representatives. We just cannot now trust a single word the woman says because her credibility is shot to pieces, even if she really had any credibility left after being such a useless pinko Home Secretary. I can’t wait to see her gone, and perhaps best of all to resign from parliament altogether, and take her cohorts with her. WE don’t need any more of THEIR kind!

      Tories delay at your electoral peril because that way lies oblivion!

    8. rose
      April 23, 2019

      Remainers object because they don’t want to leave. The scares about “No Deal”, the border, etc are just cover for preventing us from ever leaving.

      Sir John is quite right. Our exit cannot be negotiated with the PM, contingent on her future plans for herself. She must go, and we must leave. I don’t much mind who is PM so long as it is a convinced Brexiteer who appoints Sir John as Chancellor and architect of the policy.

    9. Tony Sharp
      April 23, 2019

      “Why should RemaINers object to this?” you ask – well because they want to RemaINEU it is as simple as that – irrespective of whatever the majority against it is.

    10. vera
      April 23, 2019

      Mrs May is so dead set on pushing the WA through, and so against considering alternatives or even trying to amend it in any way even after it has been rejected 3 times. It doesn’t make sense unless it is her true aim, to get us to accept continued subservience to the EU, which of course it is. Likely she has been promised a very luxurious retirement by the EU. An excellent reason to keep voting it down and never to go down the route of accepting it just to be shot of her, tempting though that is.

    11. John Hatfield
      April 23, 2019

      Why should Remainers object to this?
      Because certain businesses operating within the single market benefit from EU membership. I understand they amount to around 10% of UK GDP. They benefit from UK taxpayer funded contributions and they are also able to lobby the EU commission in Brussels. It seems that some or all of these businesses have control over the Tory party.

    12. Steve
      April 23, 2019


      “Why should Remainers object to this?”

      Because they are haters, and can’t stomach the thought of a strong and independent England.

      They’re also terrified at the prospect of not having the EU’s skirt to hide behind and of having to work for a living.

    13. L Jones
      April 23, 2019

      It must be horribly depressing watching all this unfold at a distance, Pominoz, and knowing there is nothing you can do. As we can’t, really, though here we’ll be affected by the fallout.
      You are fortunate indeed to be in one of the Lands of the Blessed!

      1. Pominoz
        April 23, 2019

        You are fortunate indeed to be in one of the Lands of the Blessed!

        A fact that is well appreciated, LJ – and the perceived direction of the UK as part of the EU was one of the main reasons I came here in 2002.

        The distance does not, however, prevent me from feeling the humiliation of the Nation caused by a grovelling Prime Minister.

  2. Dominic
    April 23, 2019

    Her unsuitability isn’t simply confined to her deliberate lies and her attempts to deceive an an entire nation regarding our exit from the EU. Her unsuitability extends to her general and indeed enthusiastic embrace of liberal left authoritarianism, her fetish for attacking our freedom of speech, her perverse willingness to immerse our party in the identity politics of the activist left and her appalling move to the left across all areas

    If I wanted to live in a country governed by Marxists, liberal left zealots and PC identity warriors I would have voted Labour rather than Tory

    Please, please get rid of her of this stench. She’s brought shame on our nation, our democracy and our party

    I for one want my freedoms back and I resent having to second guess my every word as a result of this leader’s and Labour’s attack on our freedoms and freedom of speech

    1. Lifelogic
      April 23, 2019

      I heard Steven Hammond Health Secretary on Pienaar the other day, yet another deluded Hammond. Surely one deluded socialists like Hammond and the Clarke’s is more than enough for the so called “Conservative” Party. Why do these misguided lefty ‘no nation’ people not join Labour or the Libdims?

    2. Sir Joe Soap
      April 23, 2019

      Precisely. Even in the best case scenario of leaving the EU on 22nd May (which must be at long odds), she, her cabinet and many in the party are totally unsuited to dealing with whatever happens next. You believe that she’d voluntarily step down even if we left the EU on 22nd May without an agreement? You naivety knows few bounds. She’ll invent some reason for continuing to drive us all down the wrong road.
      I’d rather push the interests of the Brexit Party, pro patria.

    3. Hope
      April 23, 2019

      Suggest you read an article in Conservative woman about Fake conservativism and the current break with law and disorder. Brilliant article sums up how useless the Tories are and we’re under May and Cameron.

    4. Stephen Priest
      April 23, 2019

      Apparently Theresa May has “stolen” 10 labour policies since becoming Prime Minister.

      A more accurate way of describing it would be taken 10 Labour policies out of the rubbish bin (where they belong) and used them herself.

    5. Mark Adams
      April 23, 2019

      Exactly. Her Brexit betrayals simply cap her Cultural Marxism.

    6. Captain Peacock
      April 23, 2019

      Well said she should have gone after the disaster of the last election when she destroyed a Tory clear majority. She clearly is Merkle’s insider in the Tory government.

    7. Iain Gill
      April 23, 2019

      you missed her lying on immigration, promising “down to tens of thousands” while doing the opposite with levers of power

      her reductions of stop & search leading to massive knife crime problem

      in these days of social media politicians are going to have to be a lot more honest, because we can all see the lies for what they are

    8. forthurst
      April 23, 2019

      Still your party, then?

    9. John C.
      April 23, 2019

      I am in full agreement, sir.

    10. L Jones
      April 23, 2019

      Perhaps Mrs May is hoping that her legacy is to be seen as the saviour of the EU, rather than the saviour of the UK.
      Perhaps it’s the ‘long game’ after all, as I aways thought it was. But I really did believe that it was going to be for OUR benefit.
      What price dishonour, Mrs May?

  3. Adam
    April 23, 2019

    Mrs May is the obstruction to be removed by any sensible effective means. Trying to change virtually all else merely to cope with the quirks of an errant leader is idiocy.

    1. eeyore
      April 23, 2019

      While WTO on May 22 would be best, I’d regret losing the chance to tell Mrs May what I thought of her, her government and party in the Euro elections.

      To someone as deaf as she, nothing less than the thunder of total humiliation at the polls will be heard.

    2. Julie Dyson
      April 23, 2019

      Today will be telling. No longer can Mrs May pretend to ignore what’s happening out there:

      1. Eight out of ten Conservative Party members want her to resign without delay.

      2. 75% of Conservative members and voters disagree with her talking to Corbyn.

      3. Conservative Party Associations around the country have now gathered enough support for an Extraordinary Meeting of the National Convention (never before held) to force a vote of confidence in the PM.

      4. The Brexit Party rocketed to 27% lead in the polls within two weeks of its official launch, with Labour dropping to 22% and the Tories slumping to 15%. UKIP halved to 7%.

      5. Almost two thirds of Conservative Party members say they will vote for The Brexit Party. The feeling among 17.4 million leave votes is fast heading in the same direction, and by the 23rd May will probably overtake it.

      Mrs May must resign, and she must do so without delay. Conservative MPs are themselves seriously considering changing their own rules to allow for a another vote of confidence before December, which more than anything else demonstrates just how dire is the future prospects of the Conservative Party in this country.

    3. Bob
      April 23, 2019

      Removing Mrs May doesn’t solve the problem, the bulk of the Tory Party are Remainers, so whoever took her place would simply continue undermining Brexit at every turn. The Tory Party are the problem and a General Election is the solution.

      1. Adam
        April 24, 2019

        Julie Dyson indicates the Brexit Party will solve the problem, Bob.

        As it does, the Conservative Party will wither, with or without Theresa May.

  4. Dame Rita webb
    April 23, 2019

    Doesn’t matter who replaces her. The fact that the national debt doubled and legislation, such as the Gender Identification Act became law, and her potential successors remained silent, means the Conservative party is of no interest to anyone who describes themselves as being conservative. A change of leader here is about as relevant as who replaces Vince Cable.

    1. James1
      April 23, 2019

      Mrs May’s replacement and the next Cabinet should be chosen from the beleaguered minority of MPs who stood fast and refused to vote for her disgraceful Withdrawal Treaty.

    2. Anonymous
      April 23, 2019


    3. Hope
      April 23, 2019

      I think Vincent Cable could easily fit in to be Tory leader. He would be a breath of fresh air compared to May. He brought about lower taxes for the low paid which is the driver today behind employment figures. May is responsible for the highest taxation in forty years!

      I do not think he would be as authoritarian on free speech, stopping a free press, snooping on our computers stopping pornography. Gender garbage, teaching infants about sexuality! They should not be brainwashed at four when it does not enter their minds! Thought crimes! May is a despot out to control our lives in every microscopic way. Regulate, tax and rule by force. That is May’s world. All laws brought in under watch need to be reviewed and reversed.

    4. Christine
      April 23, 2019

      You are right. Once she signed the Migration Compact Agreement with little opposition it became clear to me that both main parties had a very different agenda than the majority of the British people. The media has been taken over, we have lost our freedom of speech. The same thing is happening across the world. I can only hope the Brexit Party continues its rise in the polls and pledges to fight in the next General Election. There’s something very rotten about politics at the moment.

    5. Leslie Singleton
      April 23, 2019

      Dear Rita–Disagree–Would be enormous benefit in having a PM who can inspire the nation and in getting rid of a vapid patent dissembler that gets everything wrong.

    6. Everhopeful
      April 23, 2019

      Dame Rita webb
      Tories pretending to be “ conservative” have pushed all politics to the left.
      They’ve alienated so many and have probably consigned us to a Marxist future.
      Apparently Macmillan believed socialism to be “inevitable” and that his job was to smooth the edges of the ghastly march of liberalism.
      Oh well done everyone!! How they all deserved our trust!

    7. Stephen Priest
      April 23, 2019

      I wouldn’t vote for any of the current cabinet.

    8. Mitchel
      April 23, 2019

      My view entirely.There has to be a clearout of the British Establishment of Bolshevik proportations or you are wasting your time.The saboteurs,reactionaries and agents of foreign interests,left in place,will continue to undermine and seek a reversal otherwise.

      Brexit was never going to be given to you;it was always going to have to be seized.

    9. DAWWolds
      April 23, 2019

      Just a reminder about the national debt: It doubled because of the annual deficit left behind by Labour. That was somewhere in the region of £150bn a year. The debt has accumulated because of that and unless, and until, the annual overspend is reduced to zero – or preferably we learn to spend less than we earn – the debt will continue to increase.

    10. ADAMS
      April 23, 2019

      Nice one Dame Rita . All true . T May being replaced by a donkey would be the best option . The change I want to see is a ditching of the FPTP voting system which is keeping these timeservers where they are . Millions of voters have no representation in Wastemonster . Time for REAL change and new deck chairs on the Tory Titanic .

    11. Bill quango mp
      April 23, 2019


    12. Mark Millward
      April 23, 2019

      Sad, but too true!

  5. William Simpson
    April 23, 2019

    Mrs May seems oblivious to criticism of her, and more intent on getting the WA through, although it is universally disliked by UK, but of course loved by the EU, for obvious reasons.

    This stalemate cannot and will not continue indefinitely.

  6. J Bush
    April 23, 2019

    Even if May reluctantly agrees to halt the EU elections and leave on the 22nd as you propose, the woman cannot remain PM.

    She is not trustworthy and left in position she and her fellow europhiles would continue to stitch up the people of Britain, if for no other reason than spite.

    If you believe she must have some incentive to go with your proposal, then constraints must be put in place to halt the oligarthy that currently exists.

  7. Lifelogic
    April 23, 2019

    Cancelling the European elections (as you say) is certainly the way to go. Alas we know that May given any choice always gets it wrong. She seems to want to go only after she has shackled the next leader with her appalling straight jacket. Just cancel the EU elections and go woman. We do not want to be shackled.

    William Hague today in the Telegraph compares his stance aged 16 with Greta Thunberg speaking on Sunday to Extinction Rebellion protesters in London. The difference is he at 16 (on rolling back Socialism) was quite right (but had little support form other children). Greta is totally deluded and ignorant of the science, economics and engineering. Yet she has huge support from children (who have largely been taken in by Government, charities and BBC style of propaganda).

    Alas after taking his Oxford PPE degree and mixing in the establishment William Hague has slowly become another deluded, big state socialist, a remainer, an anti-democrat, a pusher of green crap and climate alarmism, of ever higher taxes, of ever more red tape and a supporter of May and her appalling £39 billion straight jacket. Let us hope Greta as she learns a little more – moves towards scientific and engineering reality.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 23, 2019

      Greta might for example learn that planes (in economy seats anyway) flying from Sweden to the UK almost certainly use less CO2 per passenger mile than trains do. This when you take everything into account such as track and tunnel maintenance, the longer journey distance and times and similar. Or that using more wind power, solar and electric cars is trivial at best and can even do more harm than good in CO2 terms.

      Let us hope she goes on to get a physics or engineering degree and comes back from being a religious figure to confront reality.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 23, 2019

        Nadhim Zahawi today says he does not approve of the climate protesters but approves of what David Attenborough is doing! Why? David Attenborough is almost as deluded as Extinction Rebellion. He is a zoologist rather than a physicist and engineer but even so he should know better. A pleasant voice for narrating over nature films has tuned into an purveyor of climate alarmism lunacy. Indeed the whole of the BBC is also massive propaganda outfit on this agenda. Almost as biased on this as it is on trying to reverse the leave vote. Is it any wonder so many children have fallen for this alarmist guff?

  8. Ian wragg
    April 23, 2019

    But she won’t go will she.
    The real rulers back her.

    1. rose
      April 24, 2019

      She is their human shield.

  9. agricola
    April 23, 2019

    An exercise in navel gazing from within the incestuous bubble that still calls itself the conservative party. A more self indulgent political grouping it would be hard to find.

    In very simplistic terms you need to get yourselves sorted or allow events to overtake you. At best you are two parties of waring factions whose only common denominator are the recriminations arising from a broken marriage.

    You suffer the delusion that it will all come right on the day, it will not. The solution will come from more cohesive forces outside your party. Forces that are in tune with the electorate. I think we all know what you wish to achieve, you need to decide on the most suitable vehicle to achieve it, as do around 100 of your fellow conservatives. You will get nowhere while remaining attached to a party that would be better labelled Lib/Dems. You have a habit, possibly based on misplaced loyalty, of not facing the harsh realities of many of the challenges we in the UK are faced with.

    I am not going to tell you what to do, just be aware of what your electorate are doing. Power will increasingly lie with the electorate, trust and follow them.

    1. agricola
      April 24, 2019

      Posted at 05.48 and still not moderated when 116 have been. What do you fear in it’s content or length.

  10. Mark B
    April 23, 2019

    Good morning

    And all the while, Jeremy Corbin MP must be thinking, “Not long now.”


  11. Tory Councillor
    April 23, 2019

    The problem here is that leading Brexiters such as Gove, Johnson, Farage etc promised the earth but then scuttled away in fear on 24 June 2016 once they realised, to their shock, that Leave had won and that all their promises would be exposed as fantasies and fairy stories. I praise Mrs May for trying to do the job, rather than hiding away or sniping from the sidelines like all the Brexiters

    1. Stred
      April 24, 2019

      I was considering voting for my Conservative councillor until I read this. Thanks for reminding us that plenty of them are as treacherous ss MPs

  12. GilesB
    April 23, 2019

    First, you are right to focus on stopping the Withdrawal Agreement.

    If May’s hideous agreement passes the U.K. will no longer exist as a sovereign nation.

    Second, we need to restore democracy in the U.K. In particular, MPs need to resign, not just from their party, but from their parliamentary seat, if they depart from the spirit of the manifesto that was the basis of their selection by voters.

    Third, and least important, you should worry about saving the Conservative Party. Getting rid of May and all her cabinet will not be enough. Ten years in opposition might do it in order to learn humility, to value voters and members, and to appreciate the proper role of MPs. So there is no rush

  13. APL
    April 23, 2019

    It’s a singular talent of the Tory party to select unsuitable leaders. This one though, they can’t say they weren’t warned. She was a lousy home secretary and she’s proved to be a lousy Prime minister.

    JR: “and the Conservatives would go back up in the polls as Leave voters returned”

    Good luck with that!

    Dame Rita Webb: “The fact that the national debt doubled and legislation, such as the Gender Identification Act became law, and her potential successors remained silent, means the Conservative party is of no interest to anyone who describes themselves as being conservative.”

    The Conservative party hasn’t conserved anything, it’s just the party that moves a little slower to the Left than the Labour party.

  14. Shirley
    April 23, 2019

    May’s (the EU’s) Withdrawal Agreement should be sufficient to get her prosecuted as working on behalf of a foreign power and against the interests of the UK. Sadly, it appears that convicted criminals can still hold power in Westminster. Why has this been allowed to happen?

    What ever happened to common sense, honesty and decency. Politicians, who should set an example to the general populace, have become some of the biggest liars and frauds in the country. This situation is not acceptable. I appreciate this does not apply to all politicians, but it shouldn’t apply to a single one of them. Respect has gone down the pan for Westminster, all at the hands of the liars and frauds.

    The rot set in when Heath took us into the EEC without electoral consent, then lied to the public to get a confirmatory referendum. The electorate has never, ever voted to be governed by the EU, and that is the whole point of democracy, is it not? To choose who governs us?

  15. Gary C
    April 23, 2019

    Apart from the obvious need to remove Theresa May, Hammond and many many other remainer Conservative MP’s should go as well.

    This government has shown itself to be toxic, it is against democracy and it’s treacherous actions will not be easily forgotten.

  16. Alan Jutson
    April 23, 2019

    The fact that she still remains is indicative of the lack of vision, passion, and common sense of all those who voted to retain her as Prime Minister in December.

    Nothing has changed since then, other than perhaps a few more Conservative Mp’s have at last woken up, realised they got it wrong because the public mood is now so toxic against them, they cannot ignor it any longer.

    The last thing in the World we want, is to allow her to get this surrender document through, in order that she will then resign. That would indeed confirm the madness of the whole Conservative Party.

    The time for talking to the EU has long since passed, the time for action has arrived.

    We need to tell them, We are leaving on WTO terms with the Tariffs set and published, and if they want to talk about a free trade deal, then they are welcome to visit us in Downing street, and hold all talks there.

    Best of luck with the meeting today, I hope she is gone by tonight.

  17. John G
    April 23, 2019

    If Theresa May was truly honourable she would resign in a smooth and orderly way forthwith and make way for someone to take the reigns who actually believes in this Country’s future outside of the EU. Put an end to all this uncertainty!

  18. JoolsB
    April 23, 2019

    John, I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned it’s St. George’s Day. You’re not alone. Not heard one mention of it on BBC or SKY News. What is it with the anti-English media in this country? St. Patrick’s Day and they’d never stop bleating about it the whole day.

    1. Chris
      April 23, 2019

      Classic FM made a point of celebrating St George’s Day the entire day! Well done to them.

  19. John Sheridan
    April 23, 2019

    Mrs May will keep asking for a few more weeks in office to deliver XYZ. As with previous extensions XYZ will not be delivered. Many of the Tory MPs will keep giving her a few more weeks as they prefer her WA/PD to Brexit.

    Unfortunately for the party, this inaction will see the Brexit Party rise in the polls and damage the Tory fortunes for a decade or more.

    Mrs May should have gone in 2017 after the dismal election, in December 2017 after agreeing the backstop, in June 2018 after forcing the Chequers Plan on the party, in Nov/Dec 2018 when she backed the WA/PD and every single day in 2019.

  20. The PrangWizard
    April 23, 2019

    Mrs May has power and she intends to keep it and use it ruthlessly.

    Since she has no honour or decency a vote of confidence will not move her. Other means must be found. A refusal by ministers in cabinet to accept her authority would be a something. Trouble is that requires courage and principle, so that’s out.

    Looks it’s carry on talking and posturing but doing nothing. By the time it’s over she will have given the country away.

  21. Old Albion
    April 23, 2019

    Just get rid of her…………….

    Happy St Georges day JR.

  22. MickN
    April 23, 2019

    I am sure I speak for many when I say that I fear we will be offered a choice as her replacement of a soft brexiter and a remoaner. I really don’t think that CCHQ “gets it”
    They will not cede control of selections back to the associations either. Many feel they were fooled and cheated when they were told last time that the only way to leave was to vote Conservative. People did and have now been made to look fools. A lot of us will not be fooled again.

  23. Richard1
    April 23, 2019

    Mrs May is obviously not going to do that. So a plan B is needed. Even at this very late stage I suggest brexit supporting Conservative MPs, ministers and backbenchers together, meet and agree a practical way forward – and then make it clear and stick to it. Maybe it’s EEA/EFTA. Maybe something else. But at the moment it’s all over the place. Spartans want WTO on 22 May. Mainstream ERM seem to want May’s terrible deal so long as she goes. And cabinet Brexiteers seem to be happy with agreeing a permanent CU lock with the Marxists – whose clear aim is the max chaos which they think will bring about a general election and a chance of a Venezuela style govt.

    At this rate I anticipate a surge of support for a 2nd referendum.

  24. Narrow Shoulders
    April 23, 2019

    What is this free trade agreement to which you refer? How can you win the media coverage (which is where the debate will be won and lost)? Our side have not managed to move the discussion in our direction and we are being depicted as zealots when in fact it is the Europhiles who are most zealous.

    The ERG should visit Brussels for talks with Monsieur Barnier and Presidents Juncker and Tusk. By presenting them with your free trade agreement and discussing its ramifications and their subsequent requirements you can show that no deal is in fact a deal that can work for both parties.

    The leadership of your party should be of secondary concern at this time.

  25. George Brooks
    April 23, 2019

    It is impossible to believe that she is a conservative.

    She has driven herself and the country into a corner from which it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape and one has to believe she did it on purpose as no one could be as stupid to do it by accident.

    She has a band of followers in the H o C who want to punish those who voted to leave by supporting the dreadful WA which is designed to put us in a far worse position than we are under our present membership. A nasty bunch of Fifth Columnists.

    Sir John you are absolutely right but time is running out. We must cancel the EU election, remove Mrs May and if you can’t then ‘sideliner as they did to the PM in Sri Lanka and you take charge of our future relationship negotiations

  26. Mike Stallard
    April 23, 2019

    I have just one question which nobody has bothered with as yet:

    If we just leave the EU without any form of agreement, how bad will it be?

  27. Zorro
    April 23, 2019

    Yes indeed, that would be a 4th meaningful vote that I could support!

    Unfortunately. As Lifelogic aptly puts, her moral compass is 180 degrees out of kilter, down to the EU blue and yellow she chose to wear at the latest EU summit to rub our faces in it, and the famed Frida Kahlo bracelet adorning her wrist!


  28. Anonymous
    April 23, 2019

    A catastrophic breach of trust.

    The Tory party is finished, you have to accept that. “Keep the bogeyman out” is not going to work this time.

  29. Bryan Harris
    April 23, 2019

    JR – IF the PM followed your advice that would certainly be welcome and would sort out some of the problems you mention – I would, like many, welcome being unshackled from the EU…. But this has gone much further than Brexit.
    A great deal of people are extremely angry with the 3 big parties for the way they have behaved. This anger covers the civil service and the whole establishment in fact, and what we will all be seeking is a new deal with Parliament, and a realignment of power.
    I personally am sick to the teeth of PM’s signing off treaties without even giving any real data to us the voters about them, and tying us into the most absurd agreements. In future this must change – Parliament must represent our views, and the HoL’s must return to the professional status it once had, or it will continue to be attacked, and made less of.

  30. julie williams
    April 23, 2019

    God luck but seeing the destruction that May has already caused to the Conservative party ( abetted by others, she is not alone by any means), I doubt your success.
    Why is she so fixated with her WA, what particular issue is the sticking point, is it Northern Ireland?
    Two things are now obvious to the electorate; a massive overhaul of our political structures is required and the two main political parties are no longer fit for purpose and need to split into meaningful entities.
    The voters like myself who are conservative with a small “c” need a party which will bring law and order back into this country with a proper police force and judiciary which will enforce zero tolerance and political correctness needs to be replaced by fairness and common sense.
    Maybe the conservative party that rises from the ashes might consider a structure that works for all it’s members and not just the headquarters might be useful too.

    As for replacing May?

    A quick look at the “runners and riders” suggested so gar is best met with apathy; so good luck with that.

    Many thanks for trying yo maintain some sanity within the tories, however the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

  31. Duyfken
    April 23, 2019

    With a large minority, if not majority, of the Party baying for her departure, one would expect as a matter of honour May would resign. That she has not done so and will not do so, shows either her faultly character or perhaps more likely or in addition that she is being told to stay in office by clandestine forces with some hold over the woman.

  32. Fred H
    April 23, 2019

    The problem for the Tories goes much deeper than just the horrendous activities of the PM. It is now clear for all to see that the divisions and confusions in the party require root and branch action to identify and deselect ‘household’ names. Currently I expect a major no-show for Tories in the EU elections, if they are to be held. That will be a sign of likely intent should a GE be held soon.

  33. Andy
    April 23, 2019

    We are witnessing the long and painful death of the Conservative party. It is a joy to watch. Even better – it’s only going to get longer and more painful.

    On the positive side – look at what you have lost. Those who have ‘flocked’ to the tinpot dictator Farage are most ranting old white men. His rallies look like auditions for an extremely amateur version of Dad’s Army – irrelevant and out of touch.

    A decent modern party does not want or need these voters anyway.

    1. Edward2
      April 23, 2019

      They do if they want to form a government.

  34. Nigl
    April 23, 2019

    It’s not just May we need to get rid of and immediately, certainly the most incompetent PM I can recall but also the MCC. May’s Cowardly Cabinet plus other Ministers who, even ignoring their sellout, presumably hoping to slide into a decent job, even the top one, next time around, have, with the spotlight on them, been shown up as inept.

    If the next Leader who hopefully will be chosen on energy, ideas etc not as May was, merely to satisfy people’s personal ambitions, likes and especially dislikes, has the same people in the new Cabinet it will be akin to moving the chairs around on the Titanic.

    Certainly you won’t then get my vote back. You use the threat of what Corbyn might do to the country, do I care, he can’t be worse than your lot.

  35. Stred
    April 23, 2019

    The Conservative Party is 70% shyster. They need and will choose a list of shysters and will ignore the membership, as usual. It is essential that the non-shyster wing breaks away and brings the government down before the shysters agree to keep the UK effectively in the EU by agreeing even worse terms with the shysters in the Labour Party.

  36. hans christian ivers
    April 23, 2019

    Sir JR,

    We just want a to find a solution which can be supported by a majority with a deal in Parliament, we are less concerned about the Conservative party this late in the cycle.

    1. Chris
      April 23, 2019

      No, the priority is to honour the Brexit vote, and thereby uphold democracy. it was never meant to be a crowd pleasing exercise and prizes for everyone. We were told that the government would enact the will of the people as expressed by the Referendum result.

      Go back and read all those the leaflets and listen to all the politicians, in particular what Cameron promised. It is only because they got a result that they did not like that they are fighting it tooth and nail. If Remain had won, then the government would certainly not have tried to overturn the result in the way that they have been doing over the last 2+ years.

  37. Caterpillar
    April 23, 2019

    Sadly no deal operational planning was stood down and a very clear message of long delay or WA sent out.

  38. jerry
    April 23, 2019

    “If the Prime Minister did this the difficult problem of the European elections vanishes, and the Conservatives would go back up in the polls as Leave voters returned”

    Would the party not simply swap one group of disenfranchised voters, and perhaps MPs, for another [1], UKIP no longer being the only alternative party in town.

    The Conservatives are now facing their own version of what Labour faced in the early 1980s when the SDP formed. Labour back then were out of office for 18 years due to the antics of those on the extremes of the party.

    Do those on the right really want to leave the floating voters (that every party needs to win over) feeling that “there is no alternative” other than to vote Labour, even though they might not actually agree with all policies, or even like the party leader? Even more so if Labour offer populist policies, such as fully funded care in retirement, or a national home building programme…

    [1] perhaps more so if the Govt has in effect broken UK law, by way of the Letwin/Cooper Act, to obtain a default exit by stopping the EP elections from taking place

  39. skynine
    April 23, 2019

    She really has 2 options; leave before the local elections and allow people like myself to vote Conservative or leave after the elections declarations and see the unholy mess she has made of a once great party; which option will she take?

    What really needs to happen fast is for a vast majority of Tory MPs to write letters to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady expressing no confidence ( can anyone have any now?) and for him to take the big pile into 10 Downing Street and ask the PM to open them. All the other nonsense isn’t going to work.

  40. JoolsB
    April 23, 2019

    Too little too late John. May has signed the Tories’ death warrant and even if the EU elections are halted at the eleventh hour purely in order for the Tories to avoid being annihilated in them, the public have now seen the party calling themselves Tory for what they have become, an undemocratic, EU loving, Liberal left of centre, nanny state party and not a Conservative party at all.

    Cancelling the EU elections will not stop the rise of the Brexit party. Hopefully they are here to stay and will give those of us that want to vote for a true Conservative party something to vote for. For those few true Conservatives left in parliament like yourself and the ERG, wouldn’t you be better off joining them? Sadly, the Conservative party you and many of us joined John does not exist anymore.

  41. chasD
    April 23, 2019

    Bunkum- they are not going to sit down for talks about the future without first settling the past

    From their point nothing could be more clear- so don’t know why you keep on with this old spin- it’s getting us nowhere.

  42. William Long
    April 23, 2019

    Once again you propose a logical, sensible and simple course of action, all things likely to render it anathema to Mrs May.

  43. Bardirect
    April 23, 2019

    My recollection is that Mrs May ONLY said she would go “earlier than she had planned” an ambiguous “promise” which should be taken with a pinch of salt in the context of her habitual terminological inexactitudes. Remember she made similar promises about not leading the party into the “next general election” which allowed some people to draw the inference that that to imply she would leave before any earlier general election when she meant only the 2022 one. She set out no conditions as to timing or circumstances of her departure. I don’t trust her weasel words. She should in any event be removed rather than being allowed to depart on her own terms as a mark of disapproval of her conduct and destruction of the party, as a deterrent to others if nothing more.

  44. Original Richard
    April 23, 2019

    Mrs. May has reached the end of the road.

    Only by taking the drastic step of changing the lead negotiator can the EU be made to accept that either the WA treaty needs to be re-opened and re-negotiated or we will simply cancel it altogether with the UK leaving on WTO terms together with a number of agreements already in place.

  45. Martin
    April 23, 2019

    “tabling a free trade proposal” – well hasn’t Mr Fox done well?

    Last time I looked he has secured free trade deals with countries much smaller than Britain.

    Will free trade with the USA will mean cheap American farm produce (the Republican party’s base are farmers) flooding in and destroying British farmers?

    Regarding your leader – whoever replaces here still faces the same arithmetic in parliament so I presume we are heading for a General Election? Mr Corbyn will have then seen two Conservative leaders go!

    1. Edward2
      April 23, 2019

      You cannot conclude any trade agreements unless we leave the EU.
      You realise that Merlin dont you?

  46. G Wilson
    April 23, 2019

    The EU’s decision says that, if we don’t hold the election, “the extension should cease on 31 May 2019”.

    The word “should” does not suggest this is an automatic exit, but the doorway to yet another extension from the EU, which makes up the rules as it goes along.

  47. Fed up with the bull
    April 23, 2019

    It’s not just the PM that needs changing. The whole cabinet needs to go starting with Hammond. The Tory party is on a good hiding to nothing as their values are not what we expect from a Conservative party. At the moment everything that is happening is too similar to what we would expect from Corbyn. They all need to wake up and smell the coffee. We want the referendum result respected and expect our government to manage our laws accordingly. We want our fishing grounds back and be free from the ECJ and we want some of the ridiculous taxes reversed. Until the Tory party comes back to reality I can’t see myself voting Conservative again. It may be too little too late John.

  48. ukretired123
    April 23, 2019

    TM is a classic Trojon-Horse who has had a totally different agenda after labelling Conservatives the nasty party and managed to get propelled up to the top and into No 10 by false pretensions aided by Hammond and close friends.

    Your track record never lies and blaming others and plausible denials don’t work.
    As Commander in Chief you alone are responsible.
    Great commanders criticise themselves first – Shackleton is famed in Wharton Leadership USA for this but rarely mentioned in his home country by comparison.

    After the so-called Heir to Blair Cameron and Osborne cabal debacle mimicking New Labour the traditional Conservatives lost their raison d’etre and now are looking again for inspiration.
    There are some excellent candidates in the party just like Sir John but must wait until May and Co step down before they get smeared by her. How sad it all is that time is ticking on and the country is bewildered instead of being certs as to at least who the back is in control.

  49. Gareth Warren
    April 23, 2019

    Certainly she has to go, both /because of poor performance, and also because she openly mentioned resigning,
    There is no hope of achieving reelection with her present course.

    Nor is there if another leader stands before thge country at a GE and says “I have a plan for brexit”, no one would believe them and the conservative party must deliver brexit before the next election.

    Lastly, I suspect too many MP’s are caught up in the Westminster bubble to realize what a poison chalice the withdrawal agreement is. I doubt any conservative leader will be able to overcome its crippling limitations, Farage would have a field day exposing to a wider audience its horrors with even the remain media backing him, everyone hates it.

    So Theresa must go, but who will replace her? While I would be very happpy with yourself as PM the best candidate is likely to be Boris. My reasoning is he must be a leaver, but no one but Boris has such public appeal, his social and mainstream media appeal is widest by far in the party. A no deal brexit will mean the mainstream media will turn against the PM, I believe Boris like Trump has the ability to get around that with a affable play, while also having leadership experience and allowing real work to be done.

    The one worry here is a future leader will promise a deal with the EU, while I would like a reasonable one it cannot be promised, and events show it to be unlikely to be given, any leader who promises one gives control to the EU..

    This country needs a leader who will deliver a no deal brexit, refuse the putrid WA and be prepared to both save money in the right areas while using it to cover the short term costs to change British industries that need to change markets. Being free of the WA will make this easily possible, such a future won’t be easy, but it will make life difficult for the brexit party and certainly be good fun foiling the EU by forging a successful and independent Britain.

  50. richard
    April 23, 2019

    The logical flow of your argument breaks down with the statement “..the conservatives would go back up in the polls..”. Wishful thinking, you very nearly lost the last GE from a much stronger base when the electorate actually got to see Mrs May close to; this time things are considerably worse and I do not know a single Tory voter who would vote for her again.

    I know its mere anecdote but the collapse in support is truly remarkable, and not some capricious disappointment at the failure of her Brexit promises. Its a fundamental sense of betrayal and distrust.

    Your party is leading this country to the full horror of a Corbyn government and unless something radical is done you will not see power again in your lifetime.

  51. ukretired123
    April 23, 2019

    Edit Trojan Horse and who the heck is in charge of the country.

  52. Simeon
    April 23, 2019

    Dame Rita Webb speaks sense. There might be a bounce in the polls for the Conservatives if (and that’s a big, big if) the UK exited the EU indirectly, by virtue of cancelling the elections. But I think that there are many natural Conservatives that will take some persuading to support the party again. An imminent general election might focus minds if there were no viable alternative on offer from the right. But without a much more dramatic shift in the direction that Thatcher presided over, the Conservative party will suffer at the polls.

    I would suggest that the opportunity to forge a good Brexit, and to therefore take credit for it, has long since passed. If Brexit were to happen, and if it were then to be a success, in spite of this government’s failure to properly plan and prepare for it, the Conservative party would deserve no credit. The Brexit Party is all well and good for these European elections, but a party that offers a coherent and popular conservatism, and makes and wins the argument for true conservative policies fit for the current context is sorely needed.

    Sir John, I won’t ask for obvious reasons, but I sincerely hope that you have been thinking through a contingency plan along these lines in the event that the Conservatives gave up the ghost, for surely that moment is soon to come to pass

  53. A.F.Fanculo
    April 23, 2019

    If parliament won’t agree to leave then cancelling the EU elections would allow the EU to kick us out with out a deal. Thwarting the ‘will’ of HoC but delivering a WTO Brexit which would satisfy the will of the electorate.
    Get out and sort any deals later when we will no longer be grovelling to Brussels. Fewer plane trips by May could help to shut up the ecowarriors also.

  54. PaulDirac
    April 23, 2019

    Sir Redwood,

    You are a gentleman and use diplomatic language, which most of us do not need to do.
    Calamity Theresa must be ousted as soon as possible; she has engineered this dreadful WA and championed it as her own.
    On the way she used 1984 type of language:
    “The WA delivers Brexit as promised” – no it doesn’t.
    “No UK leader will agree to separation of NI from the United kingdom”, the WA does exactly that, it is gifting NI to Sinn-fein.

    Your words are noble and very restraint of you but I fear that Calamity is very determined to pass “her deal” and will do just about anything, legal or semi procedural to do so.
    Calamity is a huge danger to the country and the Conservative party, she must be deposed ASAP to avoid additional harm to both.

  55. Jonathan Shaw
    April 23, 2019

    Why are you allowing a Conservative PM attempting to broker a deal with a known Marxist and Labour leader to inflict a rancid Treaty on the Public ?

    Why are you now forcing her out by any means even if you have to support a vote of no confidence in the Govt or force a GE the remain MPS repeatedly call for a so called Peoples Vote, give them one, let these Remain MPs face their constituents, as a Conservative member and supporter of over 40 years you will not get my Vote for anything while that Women remains as leader

  56. Frank
    April 23, 2019

    The “plunge” in the polls is almost entirely due to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. He has garnered support from some of Labour’s leavers but mostly from disillusioned Tory leavers who have lost confidence in the Conservative Party to deliver Brexit, or, indeed, anything conservative.

  57. NotPC
    April 23, 2019

    If you weren’t a politician I might agree with you. Sadly, I have reached the stage where Attila the Hun, or Genghis Khan would be a more attractive proposition than the bunch of idiots who currently legislate in Parliament (including yourself.) With the advent of social media, VPNs and Tor, the lack of capability of all the current politicians is highlighted in a way that was not available in the past. Whilst I would not like it, an absolute dictatorship would at least be an honest approach to Government rather than the money grabbing, snouts in the trough, people who pretend to be democratic.

  58. ukretired123
    April 23, 2019

    Happy St George’s day! We need him like never before.

  59. Tell The Truth
    April 23, 2019

    The self righteous importance and yet the clear impotence shows in reading the article and the so-far few comments: why don’t the Party table a no confidence motion in the PM whether through 1922 Committee or however.

    Why should the oposition Party want to have ANYTHING to do with a mess of total Tory doing. Corbyn the ‘Marxist’ strategist is playing a blinder: spanner in the works at every turn.
    He had BETTER not betray the 2016 vote result, and he certainly better not make deal wit #PM to get bad bad WA over the line. Help the Tory created and modified mess of #Brexit – uh!

    What i see is an exasperated and of ill-health Theresa May quitting in month of May, if we do end-up holding EU elections, after 3 years trying to exit the EU. Final shameful act of perfidy on the Nation. As Cameron fell on his sword i hope she has the honour to fall on hers at that point. Or persist, or simply show courage of U-turn and exit as advised by Sir John Redwood, on WTO terms. With him as chief of Government and better still, negotiate Exit, without acting MEP installed from UK.

  60. Dennis Zoff
    April 23, 2019

    “The Conservatives are in real trouble” catch phase is now wholly irrelevant.

    Farage and co’s winning ticket of “fundamental political change” strategy, is sweeping up the disenchanted, the angry, the financial support, the opportunists, the previously non voters, etc….the political landscape is changing fast and the U.K. Citizens see an opportunity to rid these Isles of many historical establishment nauseating ills?

    Farage’s tactic: It is no longer simply a “Leave on WTO terms” gambit, but a call to arms for widespread radical political infrastructural change within the UK…can Farage succeed?

  61. Colin Hart
    April 23, 2019

    Urge away, John, but she will take no notice of anyone other than her nearest and dearest at home and in the Whitehall bunker. One can only conclude she neither knows, thinks nor believes anything herself. She is an empty vessel spouting whatever is poured into her. Unless conservative MPs act very quickly the conservative party is finished.

  62. Pierre Pendre
    April 23, 2019

    Mrs May remains prime minister because there is no one to replace her or even wants to.

    There’s not much point exchanging her for Rudd or Hammond who would be more of the same. A Brexiteer like Johnson would by stymied by the same parliamentary roadblocks and the refusal of the EU to reopen the WA negotiations in any meaningful way.

    We are in an impasse engineered by Mrs May WA and parliament’s insistence that it will not vote to leave without a deal. The last Conservative leadership election was held before this latter barrier was put in place making the premiership considerably less enticing now to a pro-Brexit aspirant. Who wants a job that comes with handcuffs?

    The only obvious way forward in parliament is for May to make the customs union concessions demanded by Labour as the price for voting in favour of her WA. She has a couple of weeks to do this before the European elections complicate things even more for the Tories. Frankly, such a Brexit based on a joint Tory-Labour sellout is not worth having; we’d be better off staying in altogether.

    My bet is that Mrs May will go for compromise with Labour, claiming that the national interest leaves her no other option. The pro-EU wing of Tory party including determined Brexit haters like Rudd and Hammond will have no problem with further surrender no matter how far it goes. The Brexiteers don’t have the numbers in parliament.

    Expecting Mrs May to resign at this stage is futile and no one will push her. She has hunkered down obstinately under the obloquy hurled at her since Chequers which showed she had been hand in glove with Brussels from the outset. She has nothing to lose by sitting out the rest of the process to get her way.

    Perversely, it could be that Mrs May sees some prospect of electoral salvation for the Tory party in tying Corbyn to a WA that leaves Britain tightly bound to the EU in defiance of the referendum. “We are not the only ones to blame,” she will say although it will really be just another lie.

    Of course, there is another way out. She could come to the microphone outside No 10 and proclaim a Damascene conversion. “I have listened at last to my conscience,” she would say. “I have seen my error in so egregiously frustrating the will of the nation and have told Mr Tusk that we will leave the EU without a deal before May 22 fully to resume our destiny as an independent nation.” No one hold their breath.

  63. Polly
    April 23, 2019

    Do you think, as apparently happened in the alleged Obama regulatory story, that the WA is an attempt by a certain individual, or individuals, to in effect ‘buy the future’ so that the results of multi billion dollar investments are massively successful and an absolute certainty?

  64. Robert K
    April 23, 2019

    Parliament will block a ‘no deal’ or hard exit, regardless of who is leader. I’m surprised this is not a little more obvious to those intent on removing May.

  65. ferdinand
    April 23, 2019

    I agree with all you have said and also with the leaving from the EU by means of the cancellation the EU election. What troubles so many of we who are Tories is the total inability to understand a church going Prime Minister who is so willing to tell lies and make false promises. It is impossible to interpret a person like that, so what will happen is anyone’s guess.

  66. Freeborn John
    April 23, 2019

    What are we to make of Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab voting for the Withdrawal Agreement on its 3rd vote in the Commons? I am wondering if these figures might not be latter day John Major’s (or Theresa May’s) who are Sphinx like before a leadership contest and then reveal themselves afterwards to be europlastic willing to do whatever the EU tells them to.

    1. Chris
      April 23, 2019

      Also Jacob Rees-Mogg, who apparently is supporting Nicky Morgan’s stance. See her article on Cons Home which is far from honouring Brexit, but instead pro WA. She seems to believe that the WA can be altered later. Again, the woeful ignorance of so many MPs is at the root of so many of our problems. I suggest she reads up on the expert legal advice pdq, which is also available online. Also she should avail herself of some basic knowledge of EU law and proceedings before she makes inaccurate and misleading statements.

  67. John Partington
    April 23, 2019

    Talk of Conservatives not voting for the party in a General Election is gross stupidity. It would just hand the keys to No 10 to Corbyn and his team of Marxists. Be careful what you wish for.

  68. James Bertram
    April 23, 2019

    ‘I am urging the PM to lead us out on May 22nd, by cancelling the European elections.’
    Clearly the sensible way forward, Sir John. And she knows that.
    The problem is that, against all logic, she is determined to keep us shackled to the EU through passing her Surrender Treaty, and will use all means to do that, including destroying the Tory Party. And the Remainers and ‘fence-sitters’ in your party allow her to continue in this manner so that they can keep their snouts in the trough.
    She needs to be thrown out NOW, TODAY, before she can do any more harm to the country (not by the end of June).
    When will the Tory party find the courage to act decisively?
    When will the good people split away and form the Real Tory Party?
    When will you force the EU elections to be cancelled by bringing this Quisling Government down? (Presumably you cannot hold the EU elections when the UK has no sitting Government?)

  69. bigneil
    April 23, 2019

    Off topic
    I spent Easter Monday watching BBC Parliament’s showing of the English Channel Migrant meeting from weeks earlier. God, you lot know how to waffle and waste time. Repeated questions, even after the person has said they do not the get the data that the other person has asked for. All the info those people wanted/needed can be automatically sent or put into a govt database that could be accessed by all relevant people/depts. Even the working class numpty knows that.

    Also . .. Even as the meeting was progressing a message came in that another “incident” was occurring in the Channel. Only one person seemed to be actually concerned about doing something ( maybe because his area was smack where the new arrivals start smiling). But looking on the up to date (Mondays) news – yet more have arrived, 36? more lives for us lucky people to to fund, while the taxpayer goes financially backwards.

  70. Charles Crane
    April 23, 2019

    Sorry to disagree, but I think a lot of the members and voters who have left the party will stay that way.

    No reflection on your good self, but the party is rotten

  71. Jane Morris-Jones
    April 23, 2019

    I posted yesterday on ConHome that it is Remainers who need to be called out on the incoherence of what they want, not Brexiteers. Too many of them seem not to understand that remaining in the EU is not choosing which floor in a lift, it is stepping on an escalator with an infinitely receding destination. The central tenet of the EU is ‘ever closer union’: particularly since the Euro it is clear that the EU can only work with wholesale fiscal and political integration. Brexiteers care far more about sovereignty than anything else, hence their largely united support for the new Brexit Party, while Remainers are distributed among half a dozen different parties according to their particular priorities. A new Tory leader who understands this could unite the party in no time.

  72. Polly
    April 23, 2019

    Another possibility is this..

    I wonder if the WA is intended to protect multi billion dollar investments already made by making it impossible to change regulations or other factors on which their success depends ?

    Is this why millions of dollars have been spent trying to stop Brexit ?

    What do you think ?

  73. Remington Norman
    April 23, 2019


    In failing to deliver the Brexit 17.4m people voted for, Theresa May has destroyed trust in democracy – both in process and purpose – in the Tory party and in what scant political integrity remains from the expenses scandal. Her duplicity and incompetence have been evident since the Chequer’s meeting, yet MPs baulk at removing her.

    We are tired of fine words. If you wish to retain any credibility, action is required to remove Mrs May and replace her with a committed Leaver. Even that, at this late hour, will probably not save the party from the oblivion it merits.

  74. Ray Catlin
    April 23, 2019

    In fact the leave date according to article 2 of the April 10/11th EU council meeting is May 31st if Euro elections are not held and the WA is not approved. I think Conservative politicians need to get the message that the Conservative Party is now likely to die if we don’t go out on May 31st [there is of course a Judicial Review pending for us having left on March 29th] and May is not replaced by a strong Brexiteer who does what we all want done. While being a great admirer of MPs like John Redwood and my own Christian MP, Fiona Bruce, I have to say that without such radical action, I won’t be giving the Conservative party my support any more. The hierarchy has been shown to be utterly corrupt and undemocratic – unforgivably so. Such that now we are faced with the likes of the slick sales pitch of the hypocrite Farage and his new outfit. Because the Conservative party hierarchy has allowed such treachery in its leader, our democracy is under serious threat.

  75. Magna Carta
    April 23, 2019

    Thank you Sir John. Totally agree however I fear that the upper echelons of the Party have shown such woeful judgment and tardiness that they are now at the stage of trying to put lipstick on a pig. Her departure is requisite (exactly as comments above opine) thus there should be no ‘trade’ which ‘agrees’ any version of her ‘agreement’. May and her supporters have nothing to trade and the echelons might do better to consider whether the Conservative Party has a future at all. Thank you for your continuing bravery and integrity – you remain one of the few rational and informed voices in the sorry mess of the Westminster swamp.

  76. Captain Peacock
    April 23, 2019

    I just wonder will Bercow have a minute silence for the victims in Sri Lanka like he did for the victims in New Zealand and will he bring himself to say the word Christian?
    Two week ago….
    MPs have gathered in the House of Commons for a minute’s silence in memory of those killed in the New Zealand terror attack.
    Speaker John Bercow led tributes to the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings, telling the chamber the pause in proceedings at 11am was in “solidarity” with the people of New Zealand and Muslims around the world.

  77. jane4brexit
    April 23, 2019

    The Conservative Woman has a daily “The Toppling of Theresa: Day ??” article running that today, now day 19, said “Readers are wondering how long our Toppling Theresa series will continue. The answer is straightforward: until she goes, departs, leaves, quits or is sent on her way…”.

    Hopefully the ERG and Conservative associations are aware of the series, the comments should be of interest to them and it won’t have too long to run, but unless a true Brexiteer replaces her before the EU elections it will still be too late. The change over of Leader needs to be before the EU elections, so we can cancel them and then leave under WTO as the EU have said will happen without an EU election in the UK:

  78. Tony Sharp
    April 23, 2019

    Sir John,
    Mrs May is quite happy to destroy the Tory Party in an alliance with any group of MPs and extra Parliamentary forces in order to remaIN in the EU through her BRINO proposed WA. She has now seen that as the likely outcome of a General Election will due to the Marginal Constituency vote mean that more ERG Brexiters will lose their Seats than RemaINer Careerists so that she can reduce her opposition internally and lead a ‘Governement of National Unity with Starmer for a Customs Union. Philip Hammond has said as much.
    Only splitting the Tory Party between the Brexiters and the national membership in the Local Associations and repudiating the Payrollers will save you. This is in effect what farage is doing and winning the advantage.

  79. Nickyroberts
    April 23, 2019

    Sir John, I admire your chivalry, and that of JRM, but this chivalry has never been returned. We are being subjected to treachery by Theresa May who intends that we stay in the EU indefinitely, despite a democratic vote to the contrary. Theresa May is the problem and none of this will be resolved until she goes. Dates in June and May are too late. She must go now, this week so we can move forward and restore National pride. Clearly she thinks nothing of destroying the Conservative party, so again… I must ask the party what you are waiting for?

  80. BR
    April 23, 2019

    It may already be too late. May has done more damage than the Brexit issue. Legislation such as extending IR35, silly porn checks that will ultimately lead to a State-controlled internet, gender identification etc etc are making the Conservative party appear to be the nanny-State party, taking the side of lobbying big business to the detriment of small business.

    Very few modern politicians have the nerve to repeal poor laws such as these, they fear the inevitable liberal screeching in the media etc. That’s why it’s best not to make such laws in the first place.

    And if the Brexit party decide to stand as a national force in general elections… May will have done lasting, possibly terminal, damage.

  81. L Jones
    April 23, 2019

    Mrs May can be under no illusion that she is now a Bad Thing for the Conservative Party.
    If anyone, in any business, in any enterprise whatsoever, recognised that their very presence was deeply divisive, ruinous for the rest of the group, and very much unwanted by the majority, then, if they were honourable, they would take themselves off – not force their colleagues into taking desperate measures to ensure their departure. This is not good leadership – therefore why is Mrs May still a leader?

    This only shows how very dishonourable she is. I can’t think of a worse word to describe someone. Who in their right mind would want to carry that label? Dishonour is a terrible thing.

  82. JW
    April 23, 2019

    There is an alternative Sir John.

    It is not just Brexit that is losing the Conservative Party much of its long-term support.

    The alternative would be for the likes of 50 eminent Conservative politicians such as yourself, Steve Baker, Bill Cash, Andrea Jenkyns, Mark Francois et al, to switch the Brexit Party – and ALSO hold a by-election.

    50 of such would constitute a mini-general election.

    I am sure that 90% of candidates would be returned, thus sending a huge message to Mrs May and her remainer acolytes.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      April 23, 2019

      JW. Nobody has the backbone for this. There is no courage in our politicians today.

  83. margaret
    April 23, 2019

    If you were PM John , you would take us out and there would probably some pretty ugly resistance. You would not be seen as the blue eyed boy ( getting on a bit) and have a whole lot of nasty things said about you .This is the problem . When there are such large numbers who are remainer’s they could do us more harm than good. Happy St Georges day

  84. mancunius
    April 23, 2019

    I’m genuinely surprised that so many Conservative MPs so meekly and passively accepted her tacit refusal to even attempt to negotiate a ‘change’ to the NI backstop with the EU, as Brady Amendment in the Commons had told her to do. Nor did she then draw the obvious conclusion that we must leave on WTO terms; she accepted a ludicrous vote by remainers to ‘take no deal off the table’ – hence hardening the aggressive EU stance.
    She picks and chooses which non-binding parliamentary votes she will take as binding, and her dithering provokes a form of Commons rebellion which – looked at dispassionately on parliament tv – looks very much like a teacher allowing the class to vote for whether they want to learn any maths today or would prefer to play instead…
    She is operating in tacit conspiracy with the diehard Remainers she retains at the highest level in Cabinet, in order to tie the UK permanently to the EU.
    And behind her is the hydra-headed europhile civil service, fearmongering away daily.

    I fear the Tory Party has lost its chance to get rid of her at the opportune time – she has already destroyed the nation’s bid for independence.

  85. Helen Smith
    April 23, 2019

    I am sure yours is one of the letters that has gone in to the 1922. Please be assured that all decent people are b hind you in this endeavour.

    It beggars belief that she is oblivious to the fact that she is going to go down as a leader so loathed by her party that it had to explore ways to ditch her!

  86. Alastair McIntyre
    April 23, 2019

    How on earth are you going to leave when so many Tory MP’s want to remain? It all very well for you to say we should leave in May but how would that happen???


  87. mickc
    April 23, 2019

    Regrettably the (not at all) Conservative MPS don’t have the guts to get rid of May.

  88. Lindsay McDougall
    April 23, 2019

    The survival of the Conservative Party as at present constituted is not a necessary condition for securing a No Deal Brexit. Once you accept that fact, it is not too difficult to decide how to prepare a Brexiteers’ Manifesto and to how to fight a General Election on the basis of Brexiteers vs the rest.

    The objection to talking to Corbyn is not that he is a Socialist, but that he is seeking a Customs Union with the EU as a price for supporting Mrs May’s Hotel California BRINO.

  89. Ian
    April 23, 2019

    I understand what Sir John has put together today , all put together very clearly as always.

    I have to say sadly that I am beyond disappointment, I am disgusted with this party, and the total deliberate abandonment of the Manifesto that we all voted for, not to mention her Red Lines that would never ever be crossed under any circumstances .

    I have to say that for me , although I like Boris, I believe he is a passionate Patriot, and I see our host as an honourable man , a capable professional.

    After what this party and The Establishment have been up to, in what used to be a Democracy.

    This fish is rotten from the head down.
    The majority in the Establishment and in the Tory and Labour, together with the Vince Cable types.

    We need an example made we need to know that every damn one has there wings clipped.

    We want change we want the Brexit Party to do Right by the public, in short we want Democracy.

    Sir John and a few of his chums are not enough to create the change that is needed.

    The best thing they can do for the voting public, is to join Farage.

    You will not get the total cleansing the Country needs, Civil Service for one, we do not want you tripping over all those Remainers there.

    The rotten situation has to be thrown out root and branch, nothing less will give Democricy a fair chance.

    The whole lot needs changing, we are a cigarette paper from being a Totalitarian society.

    We all know what the WA will bring, not to mention the small print in the Lisbon Treaty, coming in next year.

    I am deeply sorry Sir John , but you and any others of a like mind need to , yes join the Brexit party.

    Your Country is only asking for Democricy non of the others will deliver that.

    1. APL
      April 24, 2019

      Ian: “not to mention her Red Lines that would never ever be crossed under any circumstances .”

      ‘Red lines’ you always imagine you and the Politician are on the same side of the Red line, but in fact you are not. So, when a politician says, we will not cross this red line. Unusually, they mean it, but it also means your assumptions are false, the politician will never cross the red line to join you and share your perspective.

  90. Kevindavies14
    April 23, 2019

    Sir John,
    as one of your constituents who is rather sad at the mess your party is in and it gives me no pleasure to point out that it is self inflicted, the Conservative MPs have brought the current situation upon themselves.
    I have today joined the Brexit party to ensure that the results of the referendum are implemented.

  91. Barbara Brown
    April 23, 2019

    I am terrified what this woman can do to our country before she is removed. I am shocked to the core at her duplicity and downright illegal undercover activities. For goodness’ sake dont drag your heels , get rid of her.

  92. Doug Powell
    April 23, 2019

    “I am urging the PM to lead us out on May 22nd, by cancelling the European elections.”

    That makes great sense! If there are EU elections, the Conservative Party is dead! But do you think for one minute that ‘She who must be obeyed’ gives a damn about the death of the Tory Party, or the Country? She is too arrogant to know, or care what damage she is doing!

  93. miami.mode
    April 23, 2019

    Ukraine have followed our example and put a comedian in charge. At present we are one huge joke.

  94. Steve
    April 23, 2019

    She won’t go of her own accord. She’ll have to be bumped off, or the 1922 committee will have to change the rules to get her out.

    Notably; ‘soft brexit capitulator’ Amber Rudd is in the sights for leadership, which would probably be just as bad if not worse.

    The swamp really does need draining.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      April 23, 2019

      Steve, Amber Rudd? A disaster for the Tory party. God help us.

  95. Katy Hibbert
    April 23, 2019

    And the Brexit party is waiting in the wings.

  96. oneminutemoneymag...
    April 23, 2019

    If Theresa May has the sense to take constructive advice from someone like yourself who is trying to be a true friend, she can retire from the leadership with some honour intact.

    1. Steven
      April 24, 2019

      I’m afraid that ship has sailed.
      I never thought it possible there could be a more dishonest Prime Minister than New Labour’s finest, but Theresa May lies as easily as she breathes.
      She has discredited her office, her party and her country and being dragged out of Downing St by her fingernails will be her final call.
      This is the woman who laughed at Bill Cash’ request for her to resign.
      She has no insight, or honour.

  97. Fedupsoutherner
    April 23, 2019

    Some idiot from your party is on TV now saying that the WA needs to be agreed to save the party and politics as we know it!!! What don’t they understand about the result of the referendum? We want a real Brexit and not the poor excuse that is the WA. I despair.

  98. Steve Reay
    April 23, 2019

    I’m putting money on that a remainer replaces the PM , what a joke that would be.

  99. DaveM
    April 23, 2019

    John, most of the population is just waiting for her to go. Please make her go away so we can get on and move forward.

  100. […] The Tories fear these elections. They know that the only way to avoid them is to get ‘something’ on the table. The redoubtable Sir John Redwood wrote in his Diary: […]

  101. One eyed willy
    April 24, 2019

    I can categorically state right now, it matters not what May does or does not do or who is ensconced in the chair as conservative party leader, the gig dear friends is well and truly up.
    I for one will never vote for any of the so called main stream parties again.
    They have demonstrated time and time again a complete lack of candor in all aspects of their behaviours, displayed open hostility against the public who they are supposed to answer to and cannot be trusted to deliver on any promises they make.
    There is no reason to trust any of them again, amply demonstrated by such as Anne Widdecombe defecting to the Brexit party and conservative support haemmoraging like its going out of fashion.
    I shall also be voting either for the Brexit Party or for Ukip, whichever is standing in my area.
    A pox on you all.

  102. Steven
    April 24, 2019

    I see that the breathtaking cowardice of the Conservative Parliamentary Party re-asserted itself this evening again, John.

    With the Chief Whip sitting in, the mighty oaks of the ‘22 meekly apologised and asked if the worst Prime Minister in our history would mind (pretty please) letting her petrified backbenchers know when she would like to stop ruining (sic) her country, so that they can arrange a leaving present.

    Pathetic. Your entire party deserves to be annihilated forever. And if you think I’m some troll, I used to be a party member until recently, John.

  103. Signalling
    April 25, 2019

    Wishful thinking I’m afraid. There will be no leaving on 22nd May. Indeed, there will be many more machinations and dodges to ensure we remain.

    The problem does not go away with May because the problem is the institution of the Conservative party. Removing May will prove to be no change at all when 99% of the other contributors to this mess remain in position. Like last time, the same ‘grandees’ and MPs who crowned May as leader will run the leadership contest in the same manner, make the same poor choices, and their continuity candidate will win. And behind the new leader will be the same CCHQ carrying on just as before.

    John Major, failed chancellor, failed prime minister, famous for calling the party sh*ts. Theresa May, failed home secretary, failed prime minister, famous for calling the party ‘nasty’. Never again.

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