Theresa May has bought herself time but she remains on probation, warns Tory MP

Theresa May is on "probation" as Prime Minister, a Tory MP has claimed.

Nigel Evans made the remarks as former education secretary Nicky Morgan said there could be a Tory leadership contest within months.

Mr Evans told BBC Radio Four's Today programme: "I believe that the Prime Minister is on probation."

The MP said that if Mrs May had not shown "contrition" after the General Election outcome and removed her two key advisers, she would now be in "deep trouble".

He said: "Because she has taken the action that she has, she has bought herself a lot of time. Clearly, if that goes off the rails then, I suppose, questions will be asked."

Ms Morgan said the Tory Party could decide its future direction while the Brexit negotiations on the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU take place.

Asked if she thought there could be a leadership election within months, Ms Morgan told the BBC: "I think that is probably right. But, actually, I think, because of the way this Parliament has come about, and because of Brexit, this gives us as a party an opportunity, because Theresa May and David Davis can run those Brexit negotiations which are so critical for the country, whilst the Conservative Party is thinking about our future.

"I suspect that before we get to the end of the Brexit negotiations we as a party are going to have to think about who is leading us into that next election."

Former Tory leader Lord Howard insisted Mrs May should remain in place while the Brexit negotiations continue.

"I think it would be immensely disrupting for the Brexit negotiations, and other things as well, if the country were to be plunged into a Tory leadership contest, or even a general election, while the Brexit negotiations go on, certainly.

"So, I think that she should carry on, she said she can carry on and I'm confident she will carry on."

First Secretary of State Damian Green said the "distraction" of a leadership contest would be bad for the country.

"Theresa May is determined to do her duty by this country and will continue to do that for as far ahead as I can see," he said.

"I think now is absolutely not the time for anything like this. We have this hugely important Brexit negotiation, getting that right will enable Britain to become a prosperous country for decades to come, to have any distraction from that at this stage would not be remotely sensible."

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