Election 2017: Theresa May, Dead Woman Walking, Says Osborne

Prime Minister Theresa May is "a dead woman walking" who will inevitably face a leadership challenge, former Tory Chancellor George Osborne has said.

Mr Osborne, now editor of the Evening Standard, said Tory MPs were "furious" that Mrs May had not acknowledged their losses in the general election.

But defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the prime minister was changing her leadership style. He said: "There is no other party that has any legitimacy or credibility."
UK General Elections

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show after the Conservatives lost 13 seats and their majority on 8 June, Mr Osborne said that a leadership challenge could come "at the end of next week".

He said: "It's just how long she is going to remain on death row." He described foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who has been named as a possible challenger in the Mail on Sunday, as in a "permanent leadership campaign".

But Mr Johnson dismissed the reports, tweeting: "Mail on Sunday tripe - I am backing Theresa may. Let's get on with the job." Other Conservative MPs have predicted that the party is likely to choose a new leader after a transitional period.

Former education secretary Nicky Morgan told ITV's Peston on Sunday the party needed to change leaders before the next election, saying a contest could take place over the summer.

But she said: "If we are going to have another leadership contest in the Conservative party, we cannot have another coronation like we did last summer."

Anna Soubry, former minister for small businesses, told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme she believed Mrs May would go before the end of the year. "We don't want her to go now, we want a period of stability," she said.

"She is flawed, she is in a desperate situation. I think her position is untenable and I think she knows that."

But Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, told Sunday Politics that it was important for Mrs May to stay in office at a time when no other party could form a government.

He said: "It's her duty to make the best of that. It's her duty to try to offer government as resilient as it can be in quite difficult times." And home secretary Amber Rudd said: "I think she's an excellent leader and I hope she stays on." - BBC

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