The coup: Cabinet Ministers set to tell May it’s over

‘Theresa May was at the mercy of a full-blown cabinet coup last night as senior ministers moved to oust the prime minister and replace her with her deputy, David Lidington. In a frantic series of private telephone calls, senior ministers agreed the prime minister must announce she is standing down, warning that she has become a toxic and “erratic” figure whose judgment has “gone haywire”…The plotters plan to confront May at a cabinet meeting tomorrow and demand that she announces she is quitting. If she refuses, they will threaten mass resignations or publicly demand her head. Last night, the conspirators were locked in talks to try to reach a consensus deal on a new prime minister so there does not have to be a protracted leadership contest…One cabinet minister said: “The end is nigh. She won’t be prime minister in 10 days’ time.” A second said: “Her judgment has started to go haywire. You can’t be a member of the cabinet who just puts your head in the sand.”’ – Sunday Times

  • How she lost Leavers, Remainers, the Whips, the ’22 and even Number 10 staff – Sunday Times
  • And association chairmen – Sunday Telegraph
  • EU leaders no longer have any faith in her either – Sunday Times
  • Whip accuses the Prime Minister of betraying Brexit and destroying her Party – Mail on Sunday
  • Johnson pressed her to pledge not to lead the Party into an election, but she would only repeat her 2022 promise – Mail on Sunday
  • Downing Street eyes a third vote later this week – Mail on Sunday
  • The Shadow Cabinet is set to clash in debate between second referendum and ultra-soft Brexit – The Observer
  • Grieve faces confidence vote – The Sun on Sunday

Opinion and Editorial

>Today: ToryDiary: Coronation (headless) chicken

Contender 1) Lidington

‘Pro-Remain Cabinet Ministers, led by Mr Hammond and Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, have been backing Cabinet Office Minister Mr Lidington to take over as temporary Prime Minister… On Friday evening, David Lidington, the pro-EU Cabinet Office boss and de facto deputy PM, was said to be in the ‘advanced stages’ of a plot to force Mrs May from office and herald a long Brexit extension as an interim leader who could build a cross-party Brexit deal…Cabinet sources have told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Lidington was initially ‘reluctant’ to step into the role of ‘caretaker’ but was told it would be a ‘four-month job with a three-pronged mandate: to negotiate a long extension, to oversee testing of what Parliament wants and to ensure a fair Tory leadership contest.’ A source said: ‘David is 60. It would be his last job in politics and what a way to go out. The key players are on board. It’s just a matter of when.’’ – Mail on Sunday

  • Ministerial critics warn he would deliver a soft Brexit – The Observer
  • His allies argue Brexiteers dislike that he knows the topic “inside out” – Mail on Sunday
  • “It has to be her deal or no deal”, Cabinet minister says – Mail on Sunday
  • Who is David Lidington? – Sunday Times

Contender 2) Gove

‘Those close to Gove have for months been mapping out a formal leadership bid and discussing policy ideas for his premiership, but he has kept this activity under wraps as he sought to rebuild a reputation for loyalty. The 51-year-old is the cabinet’s most senior Brexiteer and restored his status as a favourite to succeed May with a passionate 10-minute defence of her after Labour’s vote of no confidence in January. Mel Stride, a Treasury minister, has hosted dinners at his home in recent weeks during which he has made the case for Gove, gathering a cadre of supporters from different wings of the party should he decide to run…In a leadership contest he would seek to appeal to MPs who want a combative leader with a proven history of delivering complex and eye-catching policies. He would hope to win the votes of moderate Eurosceptics who appreciate his efforts to seek a pragmatic Brexit and senior figures on the Tory left such as Amber Rudd.’ – Sunday Times

Contender 3) Hunt

‘Mr Hunt is believed to be backed by among others, Brexiteer Daniel Kawczynski and former chief whip Andrew Mitchell. Another Tory MP said: “He needs to get support across the board – he has got to be the healing hands that bring the wounded factions of the party – and the country – back together. And that’s no mean task.” The number of Tories being touted as possible leaders has grown as pressure increase on Mrs May. Former education minister Robert Halfon said: “It seems everyone including the owner of my cornershop is going to run. We’re going to be like the Ben-Hur movie – it will be a cast of thousands.”‘ – Sunday Express

  • Or could Nicky Morgan take over? – Sunday Express
  • The paralysis of Government is expected to harm Tory election prospects – Sunday Telegraph
  • Royal College ‘considerably reassured’ about medicine supplies – Sunday Telegraph

Stuart: Leavers should hold their noses and back the deal

‘Many of us find ourselves brought to a position we would not and did not choose. The draft withdrawal agreement has many problems. It is the result of negotiations that were badly conceived and poorly led. The concessions secured at Strasbourg have improved the deal but it is a long way from ideal and a huge compromise on what many leave supporters will feel they were promised. ..It is not the deal we want but it is the only deal we have. This outcome was not inevitable, and the Tories must be held accountable for that by voters, many of whom will be feeling a deep sense of anger that we have been brought to this. But right now we have to make a decision. If I were still a Labour MP today, with the conditions set out above, I would hold my nose and vote for the withdrawal agreement.’ – Gisela Stuart, Sunday Times

>Today: Andrew Smith on Comment: Whatever indicative votes produce, let it not be Norway Plus Continue to all today’s Newslinks