Guido understands that this is how the so-called “men in grey suits” – the 1922 Executive Committee – have been divided over whether to change the Conservative Party’s rules to allow Theresa May to be challenged with a fresh no confidence vote before December. It’s on a knife edge:
- Pro-change (8): Bob Blackman (Secretary), Nigel Evans (Secretary), Geoffrey Clifton Brown (Treasurer), Bernard Jenkin, Pauline Latham, Sheryll Murray, William Wragg, Bill Wiggin
- Anti-change (9): Cheryl Gillan (Vice-Chair), Charles Walker (Vice-Chair), Kemi Badenoch (Tory Party Vice-Chair), John Lamont, Jeremy Lefroy, Mark Pawsey, Antoinette Sandbach, Alec Shelbrooke (Tory Party Vice-Chair), John Stevenson
- Abstain (1): Graham Brady (Chair)
The split is largely Leave-Remain, although three Leavers, 1922 Vice-Chairmen Cheryl Gillan and Charles Walker, and Kemi Badenoch, are currently opposing the change. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown previously opposed removing May but has publicly switched since. Crucially, Chairman Graham Brady – a Brexiteer – is on the fence, while others like Gillan are thought to be wavering…
As Guido reported earlier, Brexiteers are weighing up different strategic options to maximise the chances of successfully changing the party leadership. May has been granted a week’s reprieve to have one more attempt at getting a deal through. The Committee can’t stay on the fence forever when she fails again…
UPDATE: Guido understands that Kemi Badenoch is actually opposing any change, not abstaining as originally reported.