The number of Conservative MPs who want Mrs May to resign has reportedly significantly increased since her General Election disaster in June, pushing dangerously close to the amounted needed to trigger a leadership contest.
Her fellow Tories said she had been “careful not to offend either wing of the party”, but they were “monitoring her conference speech closely”.
It comes as news emerged that four of her senior ministers had made plans to replace her after the General Election, according to the Sunday Times.
Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond, David Davis and Amber Rudd were involved in leadership plots after she surrendered the Tory majority.
Mr Hammond reportedly texted the Foreign Secretary at about 4am after the election signalling that he was prepared to back Mr Johnson if he ran for the leadership.
A source who discussed the leadership with the Chancellor that morning claimed Mr Hammond thought Mr Johnson should head a triumvirate in which Mr Davis “could run Brexit, [Hammond] could run the economy and Boris could run the shop”.
The insider added: “I know on that first day he thought Boris could be the answer because he’d have this reach and appeal.”
But the plan reportedly suffered when it became clear Mrs May was not going to stand down and the Brexit Secretary implied he would not defer to Mr Johnson.
A close ally of David Davis has now claimed the number of MPs was “close to 50” who wanted May out and that the Brexit Secretary would stand for leadership if the party called for a contest.
The activity is being monitored closely in No 10 because a leadership contest would be triggered if a minimum of 48 MPs sent letters to Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, calling for one.
The leadership issue was thrown back into the spotlight last week when Boris Johnson published his ‘Brexit blueprint’.
A senior Government source has said that the Foreign Secretary is not simply paranoid but the prime minister was in fact out to get him to reduce the threat he posed to her authority.
The senior source said: “The PM made him Foreign Secretary in order to screw him up. It was designed to expose his limitations – and it has.
“He was cut off at the knees after Brexit and trade deals were removed from the department and given to Davis and Liam Fox, leaving him to fly around the world pointlessly.
“No one can turn down an offer to become Foreign Secretary, but he has wilted in the spotlight, as have his leadership ambitions.”
Source : EXPRESS