/Tories slip in polls as Theresa hits the EU election campaign trail
Tories slip in polls as Theresa hits the EU election campaign trail

Tories slip in polls as Theresa hits the EU election campaign trail

Tory support ahead of the EU elections is into single figures today as the Prime Minister heads out on the campaign trail and Boris Johnson accidentally launched his leadership bid.
Theresa May‘s Conservatives are expected to get nine per cent of the votes and are now 26 points behind the Brexit Party, a YouGov poll says.
Yesterday Tory MPs forced Mrs May to confirm she will announce her resignation with a bloodbath predicted next Thursday because of her failure to deliver Brexit.
Today’s latest opinion poll also delivers bad news for Labour, with Jeremy Corbyn‘s party getting 15 per cent and being overtaken by the Liberal Democrats, who are polling at 16 per cent.
The Greens are  on 10 per cent followed by Change UK on five per cent and UKIP on three per cent.
Mrs May is out campaigning for the European elections in Bristol today with her party tanking and is now weeks from exiting office with up to 20 Tory MPs vying for her job.
She said: ‘The Conservative Party didn’t want to be fighting these. We wanted to be out of the European Union. Indeed if Parliament had backed our Brexit deal we could already have left the EU, but we’re a national party, we fight national elections.
‘Nigel Farage can’t deliver Brexit: every few years he pops up, he shouts from the sidelines, he doesn’t work constructively in the national interest’.

Mrs May is campaigning for the European elections in Bristol today (pictured) as the Brexit Party raced ahead and took aim at Nigel Farage

Mrs May is campaigning for the European elections in Bristol today (pictured) as the Brexit Party raced ahead and took aim at Nigel Farage

Tory support is leaking away ahead of the EU elections with the party now in fifth place, miles behind the Brexit Party

Boris Johnson (pictured today) has formally declared that he wants to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister

Boris Johnson (pictured today) has formally declared that he wants to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister

Yesterday former foreign secretary Boris Johnson formally declared that he wants to succeed her as Prime Minister, but did it earlier than his team expected.

May vote plan sets up explosive few days for UK politics in June

MPs will get a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the first week of June, setting up a busy few days for the Government.

The legislation will be tables in the week beginning June 3, which is also when US president Donald Trump and his wife Melania visit the UK.

They will be in the country from Monday June 3 to Wednesday June 5.

On Thursday June 6, a by-election will be held in Peterborough to find a replacement for MP Fiona Onasanya, who lost her seat through a recall petition after serving time in prison for lying about a speeding offence.

There are also due to be a host of events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day the same day.

Mr Johnson told the British Insurance Brokers’ Association conference in Manchester that ‘of course’ he was ‘going for it’.
He said: ‘We’ve failed over the past three years to put forward a convincing narrative about how we exploit the opportunities of Brexit. All I can say, as tactfully and usefully as I can, is that I have a boundless appetite to try to get it right, and to help the country to get on the right path’.
But he fled for a cab afterwards and refused to answer questions from chasing reporters.
Mr Johnson has already met 200 Conservative MPs during a lengthy charm offensive to get him on the Tory leadership ballot, it emerged last night.
He has warned them that the party faces an ‘existential’ crisis – and that only he can save them from both Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn.
Yesterday the former foreign secretary formally declared that he wants to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister.
But his campaign for the top job has been in full swing for months. Sources say he has hosted around 200 MPs, over half the Parliamentary party, in an attempt to rally them to his cause.
MPs have been meeting him in 15-minute slots in his fourth-floor office in Portcullis House. A whiteboard on the wall lists all the slots for the day. While other candidates have been parading their credentials with media appearances, Mr Johnson has barely been seen in public while he focuses on winning over MPs.

Tory support has plummeted to just 25 per cent - the lowest for 17 years - according to the Ipsos MORI survey for the Standard

Tory support has plummeted to just 25 per cent – the lowest for 17 years – according to the Ipsos MORI survey for the Standard

Before the leadership vote is put to the Tory membership, Mr Johnson must first reach the final two after a secret ballot of MPs – meaning he must win his colleagues over to succeed.
After David Cameron quit in 2016, Mr Johnson was a strong favourite to succeed him but pulled out after his Brexiteer colleague Michael Gove withdrew support at the last minute.
MPs who have met Mr Johnson in recent weeks say his new pitch is a simple one. ‘He says the Tory Party is in an existential crisis,’ said one. ‘He says he can see off Farage and beat Corbyn in any election when it comes.’
Since resigning as Foreign Secretary over Mrs May’s Chequers deal last July Mr Johnson has also lost weight and got a more conventional haircut. His second marriage of 25 years ended last summer but he is happily living with his new girlfriend, Carrie Symonds.
Mr Johnson is deeply unpopular within the Scottish Conservatives, with some senior figures plotting a ‘Stop Boris’ campaign.
They fear the party’s revival in Scotland could grind to a halt if he succeeds Mrs May.
Ruth Davidson also plans to take a central role in the leadership contest and intends to rate candidates on whether or not they will bring the UK back together after Brexit. Mr Johnson last week praised the Scottish Tory leader, saying it was because of her that the party prevented the ‘calamity’ of a Labour-led government.
But she said recently: ‘Fair to say, it would be unlikely that I would be his campaign manager’.
As the Brexit carnage poured down on Labour and the Conservatives, new YouGov revealed that the public like Nigel Farage more than the two main party leaders.
Theresa May’s net favourability score has slumped from -39 in late March to a new all-time low of -49.
But her main rival Jeremy Corbyn is still liked less at -50, marginally better than his score of -53 in March, which was itself his own all-time low.
May and Corbyn’s scores make the two party leaders less popular than Nigel Farage with the Brexit Party leader having a net favourability score of -39. The least unpopular party leader is Change UK’s Heidi Allen, with a net favourability score of -11. Lib Dem Sir Vince Cable sits on -18.

The Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage (pictured campaigning in Brentwood) is leading the polls for the European elections, which are being held next week

The Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage (pictured campaigning in Brentwood) is leading the polls for the European elections, which are being held next week

May May last night bowed to Conservative demands to agree a timetable that will see her quit before the end of July.
Following a ‘tense’ and ‘frank’ 90-minute meeting between the Prime Minister and senior Tories, sources said Mrs May had agreed to resign in time for the party to elect a new leader for its September conference.
The decision paves the way for a Tory leadership contest to begin in earnest.
Mrs May resisted pressure to name a date for her departure yesterday, arguing it would undermine her fragile authority still further as she prepares for a fourth and final attempt to pass her Brexit deal next month.
But sources said she was ‘realistic’ about the party’s demand for fresh leadership.
In a statement agreed with No 10, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, said Mrs May was ‘determined to secure our departure from the EU’ and devoting her efforts in the coming days to passing her Brexit deal, which will be voted on by MPs in the week beginning June 3.
He added: ‘We have agreed that she and I will meet following the second reading of the bill to agree a timetable for the election of a new leader.’
Sir Graham said discussions in Mrs May’s Commons office had been ‘very frank’. Some committee members urged Mrs May to quit immediately – and told her they were willing to change the party’s rulebook to force her out.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Bob Blackman, the committee’s executive secretary, said: ‘If she doesn’t give us a clear timetable, it will be set for her.’ Mr Blackman later said he was ‘satisfied’ with the outcome.
Others, including Sir Graham, urged her to bow out with ‘dignity’ in the coming weeks rather than force them to mount a coup. A committee source last night told the Mail that Mrs May would step down by the end of July.
‘That is the backstop date,’ the source said. ‘The mood on the committee was for her to go much more quickly.
‘It was a tense meeting – difficult at times – because she doesn’t want to go. But she has accepted she is going to have to step down this summer so that we have a new leader in place by September.’
Another member of the committee said Mrs May was ‘incredibly frustrated’ at the prospect of stepping down without having delivered Brexit. But sources denied reports that she had been close to tears.
Mrs May told members the party risked choosing the wrong leader if she was forced out before Britain’s departure.
An ally said: ‘She told them it would be a much better contest if you have got the first stage of Brexit out of the way because then you can look to the future. If we are out, you can look at how you renew the party in office to take on Jeremy Corbyn, you can talk about things that are not Brexit and have a proper debate about where the party should be going.’
Tory activists last night warned they would press ahead with a no-confidence motion at an extraordinary meeting of the party’s National Convention on June 15 – unless Mrs May has announced her resignation by then.
Dinah Glover, chairman of London East Area Conservatives, said the leadership contest ‘needs to start straight away, with the PM stepping down immediately’.
Downing Street said Mrs May was now focused on trying to pass the withdrawal agreement bill, which would put her Brexit deal in law.
 Commons leader Andrea Leadsom confirmed that MPs will be asked to vote on it in the week beginning June 3.
With Mrs May due to host Donald Trump and mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy that week, Westminster sources said the most likely date was Friday, June 7.
BoJo’s charm offensive: Would-be PM launches his bid for the top job by meeting 200 fellow Tory MPs and warning them he is the only one who can save Britain from Farage and Corbyn
By Jack Doyle
Boris Johnson has already met 200 Conservative MPs during a lengthy charm offensive to get him on the Tory leadership ballot, it emerged last night.
He has warned them that the party faces an ‘existential’ crisis – and that only he can save them from both Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn.
Yesterday the former foreign secretary formally declared that he wants to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister.
But his campaign for the top job has been in full swing for months. Sources say he has hosted around 200 MPs, over half the Parliamentary party, in an attempt to rally them to his cause.

Sources say Boris (pictured at an insurance conference in Manchester) has hosted around 200 MPs, over half the Parliamentary party, in an attempt to rally them to his cause

Sources say Boris (pictured at an insurance conference in Manchester) has hosted around 200 MPs, over half the Parliamentary party, in an attempt to rally them to his cause

MPs have been meeting him in 15-minute slots in his fourth-floor office in Portcullis House. A whiteboard on the wall lists all the slots for the day. While other candidates have been parading their credentials with media appearances, Mr Johnson has barely been seen in public while he focuses on winning over MPs.
Before the leadership vote is put to the Tory membership, Mr Johnson must first reach the final two after a secret ballot of MPs – meaning he must win his colleagues over to succeed.
After David Cameron quit in 2016, Mr Johnson was a strong favourite to succeed him but pulled out after his Brexiteer colleague Michael Gove withdrew support at the last minute.
MPs who have met Mr Johnson in recent weeks say his new pitch is a simple one. ‘He says the Tory Party is in an existential crisis,’ said one. ‘He says he can see off Farage and beat Corbyn in any election when it comes.’
He argues that he can deliver Brexit but is also focused on domestic policy and keen to stress his credentials as a One Nation Tory, MPs say.

After David Cameron quit in 2016, Mr Johnson was a strong favourite to succeed him but pulled out after his Brexiteer colleague Michael Gove (left) withdrew support at the last minute

After David Cameron quit in 2016, Mr Johnson was a strong favourite to succeed him but pulled out after his Brexiteer colleague Michael Gove (left) withdrew support at the last minute

He has a settled campaign team, and speaks to Lynton Crosby (pictured), the Australian political strategist nicknamed the 'Wizard of Oz', every day

He has a settled campaign team, and speaks to Lynton Crosby (pictured), the Australian political strategist nicknamed the ‘Wizard of Oz’, every day

One minister who saw him recently – but isn’t yet backing him – said that unlike many of the other candidates he can talk about both Brexit and broader policy issues, and be ‘both a peacetime and wartime leader’.
Mr Johnson’s charm offensive contrasts sharply with his chaotic 2016 run, which fell apart when his campaign chairman, Michael Gove, turned on him to launch his own bid for the leadership.
Mr Johnson pulled out, fearing he did not have enough support among MPs, having not made enough effort to woo potential supporters.
This is a decision he deeply regrets. This time, allies insist, it will be different. They are keen to stress the ‘rigour and discipline’ of his campaign and his resolve.
Since resigning as Foreign Secretary over Mrs May’s Chequers deal last July Mr Johnson has also lost weight and got a more conventional haircut.
His second marriage of 25 years ended last summer but he is happily living with his new girlfriend, Carrie Symonds.
He has a settled campaign team, and speaks to Lynton Crosby, the Australian political strategist nicknamed the ‘Wizard of Oz’, every day.

His second marriage of 25 years ended last summer but he is happily living with his new girlfriend, Carrie Symonds (pictured with Boris in Italy)

His second marriage of 25 years ended last summer but he is happily living with his new girlfriend, Carrie Symonds (pictured with Boris in Italy)

Boris has warned them that the party faces an 'existential' crisis – and that only he can save them from both Nigel Farage (pictured at an Essex rally) and Jeremy Corbyn

Boris has warned them that the party faces an ‘existential’ crisis – and that only he can save them from both Nigel Farage (pictured at an Essex rally) and Jeremy Corbyn

However, it’s unlikely the discipline will last the entire campaign. Indeed, yesterday’s announcement, at an insurance industry convention, was not planned. His allies admit it’s difficult to control a ‘maverick’. But this latest step is unlikely to make much difference in the long campaign.

His hero: Jaws mayor who kept beach open

He’s not averse to opening his mouth wide.

But in an unusual pitch for Britain’s top political job, Boris Johnson yesterday revealed an unlikely hero – the mayor from Jaws.

In the 1975 movie, Amity Island mayor Larry Vaughn refuses to close the beaches despite the panic as a great white shark devours swimmers.

But Mr Johnson told yesterday’s audience the character could provide inspiration at a time when Britain needs ‘politicians who aren’t afraid of some short-term downside to their own political careers’.

‘The hero of Jaws is obviously the mayor,’ he said.

Mr Johnson said he ‘saw the pressure and stress on the shops and businesses’ of Amity Island as the shark spread terror among beach-goers.

‘In real life he would have been right,’ he added.

Although he admits the mayor’s decision was ultimately questionable, Mr Johnson said ‘sometimes we’ve also got to be bold and think for the long term’.

‘Everyone knows he is running anyway,’ said a source close to Mr Johnson. ‘It’s an open secret. And half the Cabinet have declared. It looks better than weaselling around the question.’
Mr Johnson, who is still bruised by what he considered to be disloyal briefings by Foreign Office staff, is understood to have made reform of the civil service a priority of any premiership.
Six months ago, the prospect of a Boris victory seemed remote. But now even MPs who are not his natural supporters admit his campaign has got momentum.
With every defeat for Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal, and every fall in the polls, his prospects have improved as MPs look to someone who they think can save their seats.
If Mr Johnson can fend off rival Brexiteers such as former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab – and gather enough votes to make it to the final round, the darling of grassroots Tories will strongly fancy his chances in the vote among party members enraged that Brexit hasn’t happened.
With so many enemies in Parliament, however, that’s still a big if. Now he has formally announced, the sizeable number of MPs who want Anyone But Boris will also start gearing up
His critics, most of whom are on the Remain side of the party, argue that Mr Johnson is fundamentally unfit for high office.
They fear he will drag the party away from the centre ground and adopt ‘populist’ policies and rhetoric.
Mr Johnson once said that he would like to be Tory leader ‘if the ball came loose from the back of the scrum’, and this time around he’s determined to grab it. The contest is likely to be decided by whether anyone can stop him.

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