Grassroots Tories planning to hold a confidence vote in May

There are reports that a number of Conservative Party chairmen are seeking to hold a vote of confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May by calling an Extraordinary General Meeting of the National Convention, which represents grassroots Conservatives. 

A petition calling for the meeting, which requires the backing of 65 chairmen, has already gained between 40 and 50 signatures. The Chairman for the London East area, Dinah Glover, said, “There is a lot of frustration and anger within the party – this is a route that we have to demonstrate those feelings so we can encourage MPs to make those feelings known.”

Elsewhere, the Irish Government has said it is prepared to cover the costs of European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) for citizens in Northern Ireland in all Brexit circumstances. 

It is also seeking to ensure that students from Northern Ireland can continue to participate in Erasmus programmes. Speaking in the Irish Parliament yesterday, Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, said, “We are working to make sure the practical benefits that come with EU citizenship continue to apply to people in Northern Ireland. If necessary, we will fund that to make sure it is paid for as part of the package that will be necessary in the cases of the EU health insurance card and Erasmus.”

Meanwhile, the Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt says that a six-month extension to Article 50 is “too near for a substantial rethink of Brexit and at the same time too far away to prompt any action,” adding, “My fear is that with this decision, the pressure to come to a cross-party agreement disappears.” 

Elsewhere, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU is “ready” for the possibility of the UK leaving at the end of October with No Deal, but that Brussels has “nothing to gain” from the “disruption” a No Deal scenario would cause.

In more Brexit news, the Independent Group of former Labour and Conservative MPs announced that it has officially become a political party called Change UK. This allows it to field candidates in the European elections if the UK has not left the EU by May 23

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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