1. ITV Report

Hertfordshire MP in Tory leadership challenge as opponents plot to force Prime Minister out

Theresa May and Grant Shapps. Credit: PA

The Hertfordshire MP Grant Shapps has said the Tories must look for a new leader after he was accused of plotting to oust Theresa May.

Following the General Election which was called by Mrs May and saw the Tories lose their majority in the House of Commons her leadership has repeatedly come under question.

The already febrile mood was heightened by Mrs May's conference address in Manchester when a prankster managed to hand her a fake P45, part of the stage set fell down, and she struggled with a persistent cough.

The Hertfordshire MP and former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has said the Tories "must look for a new leader" after he was accused of leading a plot to oust the Prime Minister.

The Welwyn Hatfield MP is also reported to have prepared a list of Conservative MPs who are calling on Mrs May to resign.

Under party rules, 48 MPs would need to write to the party's backbench 1922 Committee expressing no confidence in Mrs May in order to trigger a leadership contest.

Speaking to Sky News Mr Shapps said the list "has been growing, and this week didn't help.

"There are five former Cabinet ministers, one former minister, and quite a lot of the backbenchers.

"We think May is a decent person doing her best - but she led us into an election with that result. We're not pointing any fingers."

He is reported to have said that the list was "pretty much my initiative" and that he holds "the list myself and I know a number of people on the list have texted the Chief Whip directly then informed me".

Prankster Simon Bodkin hands Mrs May a fake P45 form as she delivers her keynote speech Credit: PA

Regarding Mrs May's leadership, Mr Shapps reportedly told the broadcaster: "If something isn't working, you have to do something about it. We are very unhappy about the situation.

"We don't want to write a formal letter - we don't want to do make it difficult and embarrassing for Theresa. When the time is right we'll give the list to Theresa."

Meanwhile, Mr Shapps, who was co-chair of the party between 2012 and 2015, told the BBC that Tory MPs are "perfectly within their rights" to urge Theresa May to quit.

He continued that she is a "perfectly decent person" but had "rolled the dice" and lost over her decision to call a snap election.

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