Theresa May vows to face down Brexit rebels as warring ministers are told they'll let Corbyn into power if they don't stop fighting in public
One of Mrs May's top allies urged the Cabinet to start behaving like "officers" and stop squabbling over Brexit.
The PM has reportedly vowed to face down Brexiteer rebels who are worried she will keep us close to the EU.
She's said she will fight against any bid to remove her from office, forcing the rebels to attract the support of at least 150 MPs.
Ministers are currently on manoeuvres ahead of a crunch summit at Chequers, Mrs May's country home, which takes place in five days.
As preparations for the meeting ramp up, latest developments include:
- Tory MPs' "shop steward" urged ministers to stop fighting among themselves
- The PM put out an appeal for 1,000 new policy ideas to help win the next General Election
- Amber Rudd backed Mrs May's EU talks strategy, warning it would be "madness" for Brussels to cut security ties
- Backbenchers blasted colleagues for anonymously briefing against Government policies
The PM's former deputy Damian Green warned that senior ministers were falling short of being "officer-class material" because of their failure to back Mrs May.
He wrote in the Mail on Sunday: "We have seen threats against her, attacks on business, and Cabinet ministers taking the proverbial out of each other’s policies.
"All of this in full public gaze. It has been an unedifying spectacle of oversized egos showing they are not fit to be officers."
Blasting his ex-colleagues' "bizarre" public battles, he added: "You can have the most ferocious rows in private (and ministers do), you can hate the guts of the person sitting next to you at the Cabinet table (that happens as well), but in public you stick together."
Mr Green's calls were backed by Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbench Tories.
He wrote in the Observer: "Governments expect to have to navigate around the traps and obstacles laid for them from the other side of the house.
"It is harder to see how anyone on the government side can think it is in the national interest to send Mrs May to negotiate the best future relationship with the EU with anything less than a united team behind her."
Sir Graham warned ministers to keep their "lively debate" in private and show a united face in public – or voters will punish the Government at the ballot box by backing Jeremy Corbyn.
He added: "If we were to let Labour in again, it would be a disaster for this country."
Labour MP John Spellar quipped today: "Shouldn't Tory whips office be doing this – or does Graham Brady have to intervene because they're just not up to the job?"
Brexit-backing ministers such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have been ranged against Remainers including Philip Hammond and Greg Clark.
And other ministers – such as Gavin Williamson, Liz Truss and Greg Clark – have launched potshots at each others' policies over past weeks.
Asked about the divisions this morning, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire admitted: "There is no doubt there are strong views on either side."
Lord Powell, one of Margaret Thatcher's closest allies, suggested the Iron Lady would never have tolerated the dissent shown by the likes of Boris.
He said: "She would have not stood for that sort of behaviour."
In a bid to reboot the party and move the focus away from Brexit, Mrs May has launched a new policy commission to come up with new ideas for the next election.
She wants supporters to put in 1,000 suggestions so the next Tory manifesto is more innovative than in last year's disastrous campaign.
Brussels would be mad to weaken security ties after Brexit, Amber Rudd warns
BRUSSELS is risking disaster by playing hardball on security, Amber Rudd said today.
The former Home Secretary said the EU stance was "madness" and urged Eurocrats to be more flexible if they want to protect their own people.
And she said home secretaries in other European countries were angry with the hardline stance taken by bureaucrats in Brussels.
Ms Rudd, who has been studiously loyal to Theresa May since being forced to quit, spoke out in support of the PM's security strategy.
She wrote in the Mail on Sunday: "It would be madness if intransigence in Brussels led to this shared law enforcement being diluted as the UK leaves the EU, leading potentially to fatal events.
"The Prime Minister is right. We must have a security treaty that builds on the UK's role in keeping all European citizens safe.
"We were ready and patient to make progress last year. Let's get on with it. Lives must not be risked."
Mrs May wants to replicate all the existing security agreements we have with Europe, but some in Brussels claim that will be impossible once we are no longer under the thumb of EU judges.
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