Nicky Morgan has come right out and said Theresa May should not be the prime minister at the next planned election.
She joins a number of other senior Conservative MPs, unnamed ministers, and lukewarm supporters who remain doubtful how long May can last in the top job.
Morgan, a former education secretary who was sacked from the post when May came to power, has said the Tories should have a new leader by Autumn 2018.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight on 28 June, Morgan said:
Once that shape of Brexit is concluded, once those deals are very much on the table, the Conservative party must not miss the opportunity at that stage to think about who we want to be our future leader…
In a separate interview with The House magazine, Morgan rejected the idea that she would like to run to replace May as party leader and Prime Minister.
No, look, I don't think I'm what's needed,
The daggers have been well and truly drawn since May failed to win a majority at the snap general election, after initial polls predicted a Tory majority in the hundreds.
Anna Soubry MP, former defence minister
On election night, Soubry, who nearly lost her Nottinghamshire seat that night, said:
She’s a remarkable and very talented woman and she doesn’t shy away from difficult decisions, but she now has to obviously consider her position.
Asked by the BBC if May should resign:
That’s a matter for her. It’s bad. I think she is in a very difficult place.
Heidi Allen MP, backbencher
Speaking to LBC the morning after the election, Allen said:
I don’t think Theresa May can stay any longer than six months.
Andrew Lansley MP, former health secretary
The Cameronite MP told the Metro it was ‘wishful thinking’ that May would be the prime minister for five years.
In a snap poll of 1,503 Conservative members done by the blog Conservative Home on 10 June, only 37 per cent said May should stay as PM. 60 per cent said she should quit.
Party members each have a vote in the final round of Tory leadership races. In the 2016 leadership election, the members did not have a chance to vote for May as she was elected unopposed when her rivals all withdrew.
On Friday 9 June, one ‘senior MP’ told the BBC:
I can’t see how she can stay.
Other Tory sources concurred it was '50:50' that May would quit that very morning.
In the weeks that followed, May has attempted to stabilise the government, by passing a Queen’s speech containing few policies that will cause controversy, and by making a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to give her a majority in the House of Commons.
Despite this, her support in the ranks remains tepid.
Damian Green, who was made the Prime Minister’s deputy after the election, was asked by the House if May could be the Prime Minister in ‘two or three years’ time’. Green replied:
Absolutely. For as far ahead as I can see,
Asked if this included her leading the party into another general election, Green emphasised:
For as far ahead as I can see,
On 18 June, it was reported that several senior ministers dodging questions over supporting her, including the Chancellor Philip Hammond and the Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom.