Esther McVey says she could stand in Conservative leadership contest after Brexit

Esther McVey said Theresa May’s Cabinet was ‘making her position very dubious’

She suggested she was interested in becoming Mrs May’s successor

Former Cabinet minister Esther McVey has said she could run for prime minister in the aftermath of the Brexit chaos.

Ms McVey said pro-Brexit MPs should back Theresa May’s deal – even as she called it a “bad deal” – because “the choice before us is this deal or no Brexit whatsoever”.

As mirror reported ” Ms McVey said she would be willing to stand as next Conservative leader “if there were enough people who supported me”.

The former Work and Pensions Secretary – who resigned over Mrs May’s handling of Brexit – was asked on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics if it would be a good idea for the PM to confirm she will leave Number 10 by the summer.

The MP for Tatton replied: “I think that what is best for her is, really only she knows, but what I do know is we as a party want to be able to thank her.

“She needs a dignified departure so however that works best for her for all of the reasons I’ve said. She’s done so much to try and get this through, even though we’re not on the same side of the argument, we are Tories.”

Conservative MP for Dover Charlie Elphicke said there needs to be “a change of leadership” in order for him to support the deal, telling BBC Sunday Politics South East we need “a new face and a new team to take us forward to the future relationship”.

His comments come after fellow Tory Andrew Bridgen told The Sunday Times that he was informed by party whips that Mrs May was willing to announce her resignation to get her Withdrawal Agreement approved when it returns to the Commons for a third meaningful vote potentially this week.

The newspaper reported that two of the PM’s most senior aides have spoken to MPs currently against the deal to see if they would change their mind if Mrs May was to reveal her departure plans, but Downing Street has denied the claims.

The Chancellor Philip Hammond played down the idea on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning after it was suggested Mrs May might be the sort of person to realise that “I’m part of the problem”.

He said: “Well, she absolutely is a kind of person who will always do what she thinks is in the best interests of the country.

“She’s a person with a very strong moral streak to everything she does and she will always do, I’m sure, what she feels is in Britain’s best interest.”

He added: “The Prime Minister has already said to the Conservative Party that she will not lead the party into the next General Election in 2022. So she’s already made that clear.”

His Cabinet colleague, the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, indicated Mrs May could still lead the party in to a snap general election if there was an “emergency situation”.

The Tory party is also in the midst of a row about Cabinet responsibility, after four senior ministers defied the PM’s orders to vote against the Brexit motion on Thursday.

Ms McVey said Mrs May’s position is “dubious” because of the collapse of discipline in her top team, telling Sky News: “Her Cabinet ministers, by defying collective responsibility, have made life very difficult for the Prime Minister.

“That’s what she needs to look at now. Has she got discipline in the Government?”

An aide to Mr Hammond said Amber Rudd, one of those four Cabinet members who failed to obey the whip, should have resigned.

Huw Merriman, the Chancellor’s PPS, told the BBC: “I think if you don’t support your government and you are on payroll then yes, you shouldn’t stay in government.

“All discipline breaks down, as soon as you start working as a government member saying we must do one thing and then you do the other.”

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