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Conservative leadership: Threshold of 48 letters to trigger vote of no confidence in May not yet met, says Graham Brady

Chair of 1922 committee says he hasn't even told his wife how many letters have been submitted

Adam Forrest
Sunday 18 November 2018 12:45 GMT
Sir Graham Brady hasn't yet received 48 letters calling for a no-confidence vote in Theresa May

The threshold for challenging the prime minister has not yet been met, said the chairman of the committee in charge of Conservative Party leadership contests.

Sir Graham Brady said he had not received the 48 MPs’ letters needed to trigger a confidence vote that could see Theresa May removed as Tory leader.

More than 20 of the party’s MPs have said publicly they have submitted letters, but the exact number sent is not known.

When asked how many letters he had received on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday, the chairman of the 1922 committee refused to reveal the total.

“I can tell you how many times a day I’m asked that question, including in the supermarket and on the street,” said Mr Brady.

He told BBC presenter Jon Pienaar that he had not even told his wife how many letters had been submitted.

Mr Brady also suggested some fellow Tories had lied about sending in their letters.

And he said it was “slightly offensive” for some MPs to claim he might have already received 48 letters but not acted on it.

“Obviously, I wouldn’t play silly games with it … It’s critical that people trust my integrity in this.”

Mr Brady also told the BBC’s Sunday Politics North West it was “very likely” the prime minister would survive a vote of no confidence if there was one.

Earlier on Sunday, the prime minister told Sky News’ Ridge On Sunday that as far as she knew the 48-letter threshold for letters of no confidence needed to start a leadership battle had yet to be reached.

In a message to those plotting her downfall, including members of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic MPs, Ms May insisted she had not considered quitting.

She added: “A change of leadership at this point isn’t going to make the negotiations any easier and it isn’t going to change the parliamentary arithmetic.”

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