Gainsborough

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh: UK needs Tory leadership election like ‘hole in the head’

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Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh has given his firm backing to Prime Minister Theresa May, claiming that the UK needs another Conservative Party leadership election like a hole in the head.

The veteran Conservative backbencher first elected back in 1983 said that he could not see what an election would achieve, as any new prime minister would be faced with the same negotiators from the European Union.

He said: “During Brexit negotiations the country needs a leadership election like it needs a hole in the head.

“What could it possibly achieve? A new leader after a three-month contest would face the same issues, the same EU negotiators. It’s ridiculous.”

Leigh was speaking after reports emerged over the weekend that Theresa May’s leadership was hanging by a thread, with a vote of no-confidence closer than many imagined.

Chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee Graham Brady needs 48 letters from his colleagues to automatically trigger a no-confidence vote.

Conservative sources estimate that at least 40 letters have been sent to him.

Disquiet on the backbenches was made clear by Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles earlier this month, who said that Theresa May’s government “constantly disappoints” due to a “timidity and lack of ambition”.

Downing Street was forced to downplay Boles’ criticisms, which included the decision not to seek a judicial release over the release of serial black cap rapist John Worboys, the housing crisis and NHS funding.