Election 2017: Conservatives will wait until the time is right to get rid of mortally-wounded Theresa May
- Credit: PA
Theresa May is battered, bruised and bloodied. After gambling and losing her majority, she has stumbled dazed through the weekend and will now apparently form a government alongside the right-wing northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party.
And yet the troops have fallen into line and are rallying around their leader. What happened to that ruthless streak that has toppled every other failed Tory leader?
The Tories are a party in shock. Suddenly they have found themselves in turmoil when they were assured they would be in clover.
In response to one newspaper front page yesterday Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary who is desperate to be prime minister, called claims he would mount a challenge on Number 10 'tripe'.
This newspaper has two very good Tory sources who claim that before the final results had even been revealed he was manoeuvring to 'test the water' over a bid to oust Mrs May.
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So why didn't he? What stopped him?
Firstly, he isn't as popular as he hoped. And secondly there is no real appetite for a leadership challenge and many fear leading the party in its current state.
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The Brexit Secretary David Davis knows this. So, instead of a leadership bid, he will use this opportunity to grab power while using his mortally wounded boss as a human shield. Another source close to the Tory top brass confirmed Mr Davis went to Mrs May with a series of demands in exchange for his support. He allegedly told her others would follow him if he withdrew his support.
Among those demands was that divisive advisors Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill – Mrs May most trusted consiglieri – had to be sacrificed. Number 10 promptly pulled the trigger.
And this is not the reshuffle Mrs May expected. Instead of stamping her authority over the upper echelons of Government her waning power left her hands tied.
She might carry on. But not for long. At the first safe moment the Tories will dump their boss. But for now the PM is useful to catch the flak. It is all she can expect after the campaign she ran.