Reports over the weekend suggested Theresa May could face a Cabinet coup this week, with senior ministers urging her to stand down after finally losing patience with her Brexit strategy. However, the claims were forcefully denied by Michael Gove, David Lidington and Philip Hammond.
Sky News said speculation the prime minister could be ousted “were at fever pitch”, with The Sunday Times reporting 11 cabinet ministers had told them they want May to move aside and make way for a replacement.
Her de facto deputy David Lidington had been named as her potential caretaker replacement, while the Mail on Sunday said others were ready to throw their weight behind Environment Secretary Michael Gove as the “consensus choice”.
Other potential leadership contenders include the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, his predecessor Boris Johnson and the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.
Reports of a Cabinet coup came after an emotional meeting between the prime minister and her whips in which “one by one they told that her deal would never get through unless Tory MPs received guarantees about the future leadership of the party” reports Buzzfeed.
“The message was clear from the custodians of her government: She had to go” says the news site. Last night, however, the prime minister’s allies continued to play down speculation over the reported coup.