Tory leadership rules could be changed, grandees say

Tory grandees have raised the possibility of a change in the rules governing challenges to the party leader.

Under the current system a move against the leader can only be brought once in a twelve-month period.

Theresa May saw off a bid to oust her last December, and so would not expect to face the risk of another possible attempt to topple her until the end of the year.

However, two former chairmen the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs said rules could be changed.

Prime Minister Theresa May (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Theresa May (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Lord Spicer and Lord Hamilton of Epsom, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “Conservative MPs are responsible for their party. If they wish to change these rules there is nothing standing in their way.”

Chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady told the Sunday Telegraph: “It is my understanding that the rules could in future be changed by the agreement of the 1922 executive.”

He added that it was “less certain that it would be possible to change the rules during the current period of grace which was initiated with the triggering of a confidence vote on December 12 last year”.

The comments came after a number of Tory Eurosceptics raised questions about Mrs May’s future as Tory leader following the delay of Brexit to October 31.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph said that an Electoral Calculus poll of polls showed the Tories could lose 59 seats at a general election, and Labour would become the biggest party in the Commons.