40 UK MPs signal no confidence in May

May’s opponents are now 8 lawmakers short of what’s needed for a leadership challenge


LONDON • Embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May (picture) faced a fresh challenge as the Sunday Times said 40 Conservative Members of Parliament (MP), nearly enough to trigger action, have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in her.

May’s opponents are now eight lawmakers short of what’s needed for a leadership challenge, the newspaper said, citing people with knowledge of the matter it didn’t identify.

May is struggling to maintain her grip on power after the resignation of two Cabinet ministers, mounting calls to sack Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and as the European Union (EU) raises the prospect of Brexit talks failing to reach a breakthrough by year-end.

UK Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn added to the pressure, telling the same newspaper that May should “govern or go” as she “shows every sign of being in office but not in power”.

The government’s current issues merely reflect “the nature of politics,” Brexit Secretary David Davis said yesterday in a Sky News interview.

“The prime minister will be here right through Brexit and to my retirement” as negotiator for exiting the EU at the end of the process, he said. “She’ll be my boss for that, I’m quite certain.”

May’s EU divorce strategy also was under scrutiny with the Daily Mail reporting Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove sent her a memo last month, setting out their own plan for a so-called hard Brexit, according to an unidentified senior government figure who saw the letter. The letter had a manifesto that includes setting June 30, 2021, as the end of transition period after leaving the EU.