Tory eurosceptic Mark Francois calls for vote of confidence in Theresa May

Prominent Conservative Brexiteer Mark Francois has called for a vote this week to allow Tory MPs to demonstrate they have "lost faith" in Theresa May's leadership.

Mr Francois said he believed that the Prime Minister should resign for the sake of "the existential future of our party and the destiny of our country".

But he said if she would not, then a vote on Wednesday would send a signal to leaders of the remaining 27 EU states that they should not grant Mrs May the delay to Brexit she is requesting at a Brussels summit that evening.

In a letter to the chair of the backbench Tory 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady, published on the Brexit Central website, he asked for an "indicative vote of confidence" to be held on Wednesday afternoon, hours before the European Council meets.

A formal vote of confidence in Mrs May as Conservative leader cannot be held until December, after she survived an earlier attempt to oust her by 200 votes to 117.

Mr Francois wrote: "We simply cannot go on like this, with a weak leader, a riven Cabinet and a party in despair.

"I believe Theresa May has been a failure as leader of our party, which she now threatens to destroy. Hers is a classic example of hubris – and after hubris comes nemesis."

Mr Francois, who is deputy chair of the European Research Group of eurosceptic Tories, said that it was "literally incredible" that Mrs May was discussing a possible compromise Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn and that she was contemplating European Parliament elections in which Tory candidates would be "slaughtered".

"We are living in a world gone mad," he said. "A Conservative Prime Minister, who voted Remain, egged on by a coterie of neo-federalist civil servants and a powerful Remainiac cabal in the Cabinet, has tried – and failed three times – to pass a draft treaty through the House of Commons which would lock us into a customs union forever."

Unless MPs act, the UK risks "being forced into a customs union with Labour support, which is completely at variance with the manifesto on which we were elected", he warned.

Mr Francois said: "In 36 years as a member of the Conservative Party, I have never known our MPs, councillors and activists to be as angry and disillusioned as they are today."

The former shadow Europe minister said that any deal with Labour based on Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement was "extremely unlikely to pass", as opposition on the Tory benches was growing once more.

Branding Mr Corbyn a "committed Marxist, a lifelong CND supporter and a man who would quite willingly disarm this country of its defences", he claimed that the Labour leader was "taking advice on the negotiations from Sinn Fein/IRA".

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Pro-Brexit supporters, outside Downing Street, in Whitehall, Westminster, London, following the March to Leave protest.
Prime Minister Theresa May gives a press conference inside Downing Street, London, where she offered to sit down with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to try to agree a plan which allows the UK to leave the EU with a deal.
File photo dated 30/09/18 of Nigel Farage who has announced that he will stand in the European Parliament elections next month for his new Brexit Party.
Pro Brexit protesters are seen holding placards during the demonstration outside the House of Parliament as MPs debate eight motions related to Brexit with voting to begin later this evening. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Pro remain placards seen outside the Houses of Parliament during an anti Brexit protest. MPs debated eight motions related to Brexit and voted later in the evening. (Photo by Keith mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Brexit protesters in Westminster, London.
Tourists look at the Loyalist Tigers Bay mural and Vote Leave EU on the gable wall of a property in north Belfast with the biblical reference to Revelation 18:4, �And I heard another voice from heaven saying, �Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues��.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference at Farmleigh House in Dublin, following Brexit talks.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in north London, after he said on Tuesday he would be "very happy" to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May when she offered to discuss plans with him on exiting the EU.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future UK-EU relationship, in his office in the Houses of Parliament in London.
Prime Minister Theresa May gives a press conference inside Downing Street, London, where she offered to sit down with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to try to agree a plan which allows the UK to leave the EU with a deal.
A mural of Prime Minister Theresa May in the Harold's Cross area of Dublin.
Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for a press conference inside Downing Street, London, where she offered to sit down with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to try to agree a plan which allows the UK to leave the EU with a deal.
A giant effigy of Prime Minister Theresa May, with the British economy stuck to her long nose, seen among demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament during an anti Brexit protest. MPs debated eight motions related to Brexit and voted later in the evening. (Photo by Keith mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Pro Brexit placards are seen outside the House of Parliament as MPs debate eight motions related to Brexit with voting to begin later this evening. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A giant effigy of Prime Minister Theresa May, with the British economy stuck to her long nose, is seen outside the Houses of Parliament during an anti Brexit protest. MPs debated eight motions related to Brexit and voted later in the evening. (Photo by Keith mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A giant effigy of Prime Minister Theresa May, with the British economy stuck to her long nose, seen among demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament during an anti Brexit protest. MPs debated eight motions related to Brexit and voted later in the evening. (Photo by Keith mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Anti Brexit protesters seen wrapped in flags outside Houses of Parliament in Westminster during an anti Brexit demonstration. MPs debated eight motions related to Brexit and voted later in the evening. (Photo by Keith mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A Pro-Remain supporter seen holding a placard protesting outside Houses of Parliament in Westminster. MPs debated eight motions related to Brexit and voted later in the evening. (Photo by Keith mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Prime Minister Theresa May leaving the House of Commons, London after MPs fail to back proposals on alternatives to her EU withdrawal deal.
People's Vote projection onto the Houses of Parliament, London, calling for another vote for the people about Brexit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leaving the House of Commons, London after MPs fail to back proposals on alternatives to Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss leaving the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, during the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues.
Leave and remain protesters outside the Houses of Parliament, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues.
Eurosceptic Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks in the House of Commons during a Brexit debate ahead of a second round of votes on alternative proposals to the government's Brexit deal.
Madeleina Kay, Young European of the Year 2018 dressed in blue holds an EU flag and entertains the public while singing about Brexit outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues.
Anti-Brexit demonstrators near College Green at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues.
Anti-Brexit demonstrators near College Green at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues.
File photo dated 24/03/18 of demonstrators at a Brexit protest march in Edinburgh, as a petition calling on the Government to halt the Brexit process has passed six million signatures.
Prime Minister Theresa May arrives with her husband Philip to attend a church service near her Maidenhead constituency.
The Border Communities Against Brexit group hold a protest along the border between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. On Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Carrickcarnon, Co. Louth, Ireland. Photo by Artur Widak
A dog passes near a Brexit sign during the Border Communities Against Brexit group protest hold along the border between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. On Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Carrickcarnon, Co. Louth, Ireland. Photo by Artur Widak
MP David Lammy addresses anti-Brexit campaigners in Parliament Square as they take part in the People's Vote March in London.
Thousands of Leave campaigners are seen outside Parliament during the protest. Leave campaigners protest against the delay to Brexit, on the day that UK was due to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May�s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time by a margin of 58 votes. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Protester are seen outside House of Parliament holding England flags during the demonstration. Leave campaigners protest against the delay to Brexit, on the day that UK was due to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May�s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time by a margin of 58 votes. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Protesters are seen holding placards and Union Jacks outside House of Parliament during the protest. Leave campaigners protest against the delay to Brexit, on the day that UK was due to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May�s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time by a margin of 58 votes. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Couple of women seen holding a placard and a Union Jack outside House of Parliament during the protest. Leave campaigners protest against the delay to Brexit, on the day that UK was due to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May�s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time by a margin of 58 votes. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Thousands of Leave campaigners are seen outside Parliament during the protest. Leave campaigners protest against the delay to Brexit, on the day that UK was due to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May�s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time by a margin of 58 votes. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A woman is seen wearing a "I Love Brexit" hat and holding a placard outside House of Parliament during the protest. Leave campaigners protest against the delay to Brexit, on the day that UK was due to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May�s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time by a margin of 58 votes. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A couple is seen wearing large Union Jack hats outside House of Parliament during the protest. Leave campaigners protest against the delay to Brexit, on the day that UK was due to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May�s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time by a margin of 58 votes. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Nigel Farage, seen speaking during the rally. After a 3rd defeat at the House of Commons. A pro Brexit rally takes place on Parliament Square London, with MP�s and other speakers. (Photo by Terry Scott / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Protesters are seen holding placards outside House of Parliament during the demonstration. Leave campaigners protest against the delay to Brexit, on the day that UK was due to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May�s Brexit deal was defeated for a third time by a margin of 58 votes. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Pro Brexit supporters are seen seated outside the Houses of Parliament as they take part during the protest. Pro Brexit protesters gathered outside the Houses of Parliament, in central London, as the British MPs debated and rejected Theresa May�s Withdrawal Agreement for the third time. Many protesters featured dresses, suits and hats displaying the Union Jack flag and held banners and placards critical with politicians and demanding the UK to leave the EU. (Photo by Angeles Rodenas / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Julia Hartley-Brewer seen speaking during the rally. After a 3rd defeat at the House of Commons. A pro Brexit rally takes place on Parliament Square London, with MP�s and other speakers. (Photo by Terry Scott / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Pro Brexit supporters seen wearing blue hats with red stripes emulating the United Kingdom flag during the Leave means leave rally in London. A Leave means leave pro Brexit march begun on March 16 in Sunderland, UK and ended with a rally in Parliament Square on March 29 in London, same day that UK has been scheduled to leave the European Union. Pro Brexit protesters gathered at Parliament Square to demand from the government to deliver what was promised and leave the European Union without a deal. Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson were seen giving speeches to their supporters in different stages during the pro Brexit protest. (Photo by Andres Pantoja / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Brexit supporters gather at a March to Leave rally in Parliament Square in London, UK on March 29, 2019. (Photo by Claire Doherty/Sipa USA)
Pro-Brexit supporters stand in the road at Trafalgar Square in central London, following the March to Leave protest.
Pro-Brexit supporters stand in the road at Trafalgar Square in central London, following the March to Leave protest.
Pro-Brexit supporters burn a EU flag near to Trafalgar Square in central London, following the March to Leave protest.
A Pro-Brexit supporter wearing a Donald Trump mask in Whitehall, Westminster, London, following the March to Leave protest.
A Leave campaigner wears an Union Jack face paint at the March to Leave protest in Parliament Square, Westminster, London
Pro-Brexit supporters, in Whitehall, Westminster, London, during following the March to Leave protest.
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Meanwhile, he accused Brexiteers in the Cabinet of doing "absolutely nothing save consume vast quantities of pizza" as "riven by personal ambition, they keep their heads firmly below the parapet, many of them hoping that by sitting out this great battle for the destiny of our country, they will somehow inherit the crown".

Mr Francois said he hoped that the EU27 leaders would "kick us out of the EU" on Wednesday by refusing to grant an extension to the Brexit process.

And he said that an indicative vote shortly before Wednesday's scheduled meeting of the 1922 Committee would make it clear to the EU27 that Mrs May could no longer command the majority needed in Parliament to deliver a Brexit deal, making it "extremely unlikely" they would grant an extension.

"Our future is therefore literally in the hands of 313 Tory MPs," he said.

And he added: "Enough is enough. If she goes by Wednesday we can Leave on Friday."

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