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40 rebel MPs prepare no-confidence letter against PM Theresa May

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    London, November 13: As many as 40 MPs of Conservative Party are ready to sign a letter expressing a lack of confidence in British Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership.

     British Prime Minister Theresa May. PTI file photo

    Conservative party MPs are now just eight short of the required number of 48 to force a leadership challenge as May struggles to steady her government following two high- profile resignations, 'The Sunday Times' reported.

    Indian-origin MP Priti Patel stepped down as the international development minister amid a dramatic row over her a series of unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials earlier this week.

    Her resignation came days after Michael Fallon had been forced to quit as Defence Secretary amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

    Two of May's other senior Cabinet ministers, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and First Secretary of State Damian Green, continue to battle demands that they step down.

    Johnson has been accused of endangering the life of a British-Iranian national, imprisoned in Tehran, by making an incorrect statement at a House of Commons committee meeting.

    Green is under investigation by the parliamentary authorities over allegations of sexual misconduct and that pornography had been discovered on his Commons laptop a few years ago.

    The Opposition and her own party MPs believe that the British Prime Minister's failure to take firm action against them reflects her weakness as a leader and it is time for her to quit Downing Street.

    The embattled leader also faces mounting pressure from the European Union (EU) over Brexit negotiations, after Brussels issued an ultimatum that Britain must agree on its divorce bill payments with the economic bloc within weeks or face the prospect of no future trade deal with the EU once it is no longer a member.

    May is headed for some further bruising in the House of Commons when the EU Withdrawal Bill returns to Parliament on Tuesday, with Labour expected to join Tory rebels to inflict a series of damaging defeats on the government.

    One of Labour's key demands is that "parliament, and not ministers, has the final say on whether to approve the withdrawal agreement and how best to implement it".

    "Continuing uncertainty about the government's approach to Brexit is now the biggest risk facing our country. The prime minister must end the confusion, take on the 'no-deal' extremists in her government and back a jobs-first Brexit for Britain," Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned in an article in 'The Sunday Times'.

    He demanded that May should "govern or go" because she is now showing "every sign of being in office but not in power".

    Corbyn also indicated that sacking Boris Johnson would be a sign of some strength as he had become a liability.

    "We have put up with Johnson embarrassing and undermining our country with his incompetence and colonial throwback views and putting our citizens at risk for long enough. It's time for him to go," he said.

    Johnson is reportedly set for a meeting with the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe, a dual British and Iranian national in jail on charges of an attempted coup against the Iranian regime.

    Richard Radcliffe has been arguing his wife's innocence and campaigning for the UK Foreign Office to secure her release.

    Johnson's future in the UK Cabinet is now tied to how the case progresses.


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