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POSTED | 16:54 PM | 08-10-2017

Ghost of Thatcher haunts May as she fights ouster plot

A devastating election and a high-profile speech strewn with mishaps have ignited a leadership crisis for British Prime Minister Theresa May at a critical time as Brexit negotiators push for a deal in Brussels, AFP reported on Sunday (Oct 8, 2017).

A plot by a group of Conservative MPs to oust May was exposed on Friday, reviving memories of the backstabbing that led to Margaret Thatcher’s ouster in 1990.

Many colleagues publicly condemned the attempt and backed their leader, but the Sunday Times reported that at least three cabinet ministers had discussed the need to replace her this week.

Parliament returns on Monday and May is expected to announce a number of policy initiatives in a bid to reassert her authority, while there are also rumors of a cabinet reshuffle.

But she will also need some progress in the deadlocked Brexit negotiations which resume on Monday.

The prime minister has struggled since June when her gamble in calling an election to cement her power backfired spectacularly and she lost her parliamentary majority.

For many Conservatives, it is now a question of when, not if, she steps down ahead of the next election in 2022 -- and the date most often mentioned is 2019, when Britain is expected to leave the European Union.

“Getting rid of her is like going to the dentist,” a government minister was quoted by The Sun as saying.

“You keep putting it off because it’s going to be painful but you know you have to do it eventually.”

There have been reports of bitter divisions for weeks and speculation has swirled over whether Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson might mount a leadership bid after his contrary interventions in the Brexit debate.

Johnson pledged his loyalty to the prime minister this weekend, but his erratic behavior has drawn widespread criticism and accusations of betrayal.

 

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