The coup against Theresa May is dominating the media today – and its all thanks to her supporters.
Political Scrapbook reported yesterday on the behind the scenes briefings against May being given to newspapers by some of the 30 MPs that want a leadership challenge.
In a bid to kill the coup, Tory whips told the Times newspaper that former party chairman Grant Shapps was the ringleader.
They gambled that identifying Shapps, who’s credibility has been hit by political scandal, would ensure the campaign will “fizzle out.”
But they have actually succeeded in turning a Westminster whispering campaign into a very public fight for May’s survival.
It gave Shapps a platform to call for May’s resignation on all of Britain’s biggest media outlets today. Here’s the highlights…
Shapps told Sky News he had wanted to raise the matter with May privately before being outed:
Former Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps has told Sky News “one or two cabinet members privately agree” the PM should resign pic.twitter.com/46I5vmiQhP
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 6, 2017
BBC Radio 4 Today
Shapps told Today that people not on the government payroll “realise its time for an leadership election”:
“People who are dispassionate realise the time is to have a leadership election.”
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) October 6, 2017
Shapps told the BBC that anyone who thinks May’s leadership will work out is kidding themselves:
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) October 6, 2017
ITV’s Good Morning Britain
Shapps confirms his list of rebels includes 5 former cabinet ministers:
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 6, 2017
May’s supporters think MPs will be reluctant to join a rebellion headed by Shapps and they may well be right.
But they appear to have forgotten about one important thing – public opinion.
The briefings to newspapers barely reached beyond the bubble, while Shapps message to the broadcast media this morning will have reached millions.
Fittingly, May is trying to cling to power by pleasing the few and not the many…