The politics sections of yesterday’s Sunday papers, which kick off the weekly news cycle, were very different from the week before’s: they contained very little speculation about an early Conservative leadership contest.
What seems to have happened within the Parliamentary Party since June 9 is that the white-hot anger with Theresa May for the bungled election campaign has cooled – a little – and most Tory MPs have also concluded that they don’t want to risk an early general election. A change of leader would in their view make that outcome more likely. The consensus for the time being is that the Prime Minister should stay on until, say, Britain formally leaves the EU in less than two years’ time.
Our survey finds that this emerging view is mirrored by party activists. 15 per cent want May out now. Twenty-seven per cent take the loyalist position. And a majority want her to stay, though only for the time being.
Despite differences and divisions with the Cabinet, and the demoralisation caused by failing to win a majority, the Prime Minister is set, as we write, to make it through to the summer recess, and to try to regain the initiative in the autumn.