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Top Tories: ‘Nonsense’ to write off the party – but be careful of holding an election

Written by on 18/05/2019

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has said it is “nonsense” that the Conservative Party is on a path to destruction.

Ruth Davidson dismissed rumours that “the current impasse over Brexit will lead to some for of break-up or breakaway… [and] poor polling indicates the support is in terminal decline”.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Ms Davidson argues that “new leadership brings with it the chance for renewal and floods the political landscape with oxygen” and that a Brexit deal must be reached to enable the political discussion to move forward.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a general election should not be held until Britain has left the EU, warning the risk of Labour making significant gains is too high.

Ruth Davidson

Image: Ruth Davidson has said it’s too early to write off the Conservatives

The minister, speaking to the same paper, said it was essential the Conservatives delivered on the referendum result – something which would not be possible with Labour in Number 10.

He said: “I think a general election before we’ve delivered Brexit would be a disaster. People don’t want it.”

Matt Hancock

Image: Matt Hancock is urging a delay to any potential general election

He added: “Who knows what the outcome of a general election would be under these circumstances? A general election before that not only risks Jeremy Corbyn, but it risks killing Brexit altogether.”

More from Brexit

His comments came as Boris Johnson emerged as the overwhelming favourite among Tory activists to succeed Theresa May as prime minister.

The former foreign secretary, already odds-on favourite with bookmakers, has a massive lead over his nearest rival, fellow Brexiteer Dominic Raab.

Mr Johnson is the first choice of almost one-in-four party members, according to a YouGov poll for The Times conducted this week.

Of the others, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, were both on 9%, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on 8%. Mr Hancock was on just 1%.

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to 10 Downing Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 14, 2019. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Image: Prime Minister Theresa May will soon have to set out her departure date

Brexit remains in free-fall, as crisis talks to broker a Brexit deal between the government and Labour collapsed on Friday.

The Labour leader said the negotiations had “gone as far as they can” because “we have been unable to bridge important policy gaps between us”.

He complained that as a Tory leadership race kicks off the “position of the government has become ever more unstable and its authority eroded”.

But Mrs May blamed the collapse in talks on “the fact that there is no common position in Labour about whether they want to deliver Brexit or hold a second referendum which could reverse it”.

Mrs May currently intends to make one final attempt to get her Brexit deal through Parliament when she introduces the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) in the Commons in the first full week of June.

Regardless of the result, Mrs May has agreed to meet the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady following the second reading vote to agree a timetable for her departure.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2019

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