Tory plotters told it’s ‘too late’ to replace Rishi Sunak with Penny Mordaunt

webnexttech | Tory plotters told it's 'too late' to replace Rishi Sunak with Penny Mordaunt

Tory plotters have been told it’s “too late” to get rid of Rishi Sunak before the next election as the Prime Minister claimed his warring party was united. Mr Sunak tried to launch a fightback after a weekend of swirling rumours that fed up MPs want to replace him with Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt. Allies of Ms Mordaunt have dismissed the reports and blamed right-wingers for whipping them up. A source close to the top Tory said: “There’s clearly a concerted effort to brief outright codswallop to anybody who will listen and I think the evidence suggests most people don’t buy it.” Today, Mr Sunak tried to shrug off persistent murmurings of discontent at his leadership and claimed 2024 will be the year Britain “bounces back”. His allies warned Tory MPs – who fear losing their seats – that he could call a general election if they try to oust him. On a visit to the West Midlands, the PM claimed that “all Conservatives are united in wanting to deliver a brighter future for our country”. Ex-Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told mutinous MPs they had “missed the boat” and said they needed to “march towards the sound of guns”. “There comes a moment in time in the electoral cycle where you put on your best suit, you stand up and you march towards the sound of the guns and you get on with it,” he told TimesRadio. “Whether colleagues are happy with him or not, it’s too late.” The latest Tory psychodrama comes just six weeks before the local elections, where the party is bracing for a collapse in seats it won in 2021 when Boris Johnson was riding a wave of goodwill after the Covid vaccine rollout. Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch pleaded with Tory plotters to “stop messing around” and said the party needed to focus on the local elections. Ms Badenoch, who has been tipped as potential leadership frontrunner, told LBC: “People need to stop messing around and get behind the Prime Minister. “But I think at this particular time, it is really important that we remember that there are thousands of councillors all around the country who are going to be standing for election in May. We need people to focus on what they have been doing to help their local communities and not be obsessed with Westminster psychodrama.” But a quarter (23%) of Tory councillors think ditching Mr Sunak would boost their results ahead of the local elections. Polling by Savanta for the Labour Together thinktank found that 6% think that doing so would make for a much more positive result for the Conservatives, while 32% believe that ditching Sunak would lead to similar results as keeping him. Four in ten (41%) think that it would make things worse. Josh Simons, Director of Labour Together said: “The Conservatives are in disarray and their own councillors know it. Two years of trailing in the polls, ten by-election defeats, one defection to Labour and another to Reform, all point to an ungovernable party.”

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