Nadine Dorries has said she does not want Theresa May ousted – despite submitting a letter of no confidence in the prime minister.
The Tory MP and Brexiteer said that it was a ‘tactical decision’ not to submit all 48 letters at once, and that it was designed to be a ‘burning fuse’.
She believed the number to now stand at ’46’ with some MPs waiting until the loss of the Brexit meaningful vote before they put their letters in.
Dorries claimed that she had not put a letter in to oust Theresa May, but to create ‘leverage’ to get her to change her mind on Brexit, and she didn’t want to be held responsible for a change in leader.
She told the BBC’s Politics Live: ‘The decision not to reach the 48 has been a tactical decision because we don’t want to oust our prime minister – I personally don’t want to be responsible for ousting our second female prime minister.
‘But I think what many people are hoping is that by being just short of the 48 we are using that as leverage to try and persuade the prime minister to go back and have further negotiations.’
Despite claiming to not want Theresa May to go she said she would like to see Boris Johnson take the job.
Explaining why she is unhappy with the Conservative leadership she once again said she does not like the proposed Brexit deal because it does not give the UK a voice at the EU.
She said: ‘Personally if the prime minister is not going to move any further on this deal, which puts us in a transition period until 2022, with no cap on the monies we have to pay, with no voice at the table, and no representation throughout this entire period. If she’s going to continue down this path then we have to have a change of prime minister.
‘And if we don’t the DUP do mean business, they will withdraw support, and when that happens we will have no majority in parliament.’
Asked whether she feels embarrassed by the fact that despite her warnings the European Research Group (ERG) failed to spark 48 letters, she suggested it was the male members of the ERG who were hesitant.
She said: ‘It’s certainly not all mouth and no trousers from me.
‘I can tell you this – it certainly isn’t for all the women in the ERG – all the women have put their letters in.’
A fellow member of the ERG claimed that Graham Brady might have been hiding the true number of letters received, a claim Brady has strongly denied.