Prime Minister Theresa May faces a possible cabinet coup this week that may force her resignation as she makes a last-ditch bid to win support among British MPs for her EU divorce deal.
The Sunday Times reported she was “at the mercy of a full-blown cabinet coup”, with plans afoot for her de facto deputy David Lidington to take over in a caretaker capacity.
The newspaper said it had spoken to 11 senior ministers who “confirmed that they wanted the prime minister to make way for someone else” and planned to confront her at a cabinet meeting on Monday.
The Mail on Sunday also said May could be ousted “within days” and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a prominent Brexiteer, could take over as interim leader.
Speculations about a cabinet rebellion came as an estimated one million pro-Europeans marched through central London demanding another public vote on leaving the bloc, according to organisers.
May, on her part, is making a last-ditch bid to win support among British MPs for her EU divorce deal ahead of another pivotal week in the Brexit process — but faced reports her leadership is under imminent threat.
After securing a short delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union beyond March, May appealed directly to lawmakers to contact her “over the coming days as parliament prepares to take a momentous decision”.
“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” May wrote to MPs on Friday, as she softened her tone after lambasting them earlier this week for their intransigence over her plan.
“You have a difficult job to do and it was not my intention to make it any more difficult.
“People on all sides of the debate hold passionate views and I respect those differences.”
The House of Commons has already overwhelmingly rejected the pact twice since it was struck with the EU last year and the Democratic Unionist Party, her parliamentary allies, indicated Friday they remain opposed.
The government is set to publish on Monday its plans for the House of Commons next week.
If May’s deal finally wins MPs’ backing Britain will depart on May 22 under the terms of her deal, but if it is not passed in the coming weeks London must outline a new plan or face a no-deal Brexit as early as April 12.
A request then for another, likely lengthy, extension would require holding European Parliament elections in May.