Prankster held over PM's P45 stunt had legitimate accreditation, say police

Theresa May hugs husband Philip May

Mr Shapps insisted there was growing support among a "broad spread" of Tory MPs for a leadership contest in the wake of the Prime Minister's chaotic party conference speech.

Divisions over the future of May was made public on Friday with a former chairman of her party saying 30 Conservative members of parliament backed a plot to topple her. The possibility that her departure could usher in a Brexit hardliner is worrying to businesses and investors who want a longer, smoother transition than the one advocated by a popular anti-EU wing of the party.

May's coughing fits which continually interrupted her speech, a prankster breaching security to approach her on the conference platform with the conference backdrop falling apart making it a triple disaster played out live on television.

May's leadership shattered after the United Kingdom snap parliamentary election in June, which, despite its initial goal to unify the political leadership ahead of Brexit negotiations, resulted in a hung parliament and prompted the Conservatives to agree on a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

A Conservative leadership election will only be called if May resigns or if 50 Tory MPs write to request one. "I was about to talk about someone I'd like to give a P45 to, and that's Jeremy Corbyn!" she said, referring to the leader of the opposition Labour Party.

It comes following the critical response to her speech at the Conservative Party Conference last weekend - as well as ongoing disagreements over Brexit.


During the speech, notorious prankster Simon Brodkin, alias stand-up comedian Lee Nelson, delivered a mocked up P45 to the Prime Minister shouting as he was led from the hall that Boris Johnson had put him up to it.

The Conservative leader used her speech to shoulder the blame for the election, and received several ovations from the audience.

"It is time for a change and it is not just the Prime Minister - with due respect to her - it isn't just the Prime Minister, it's the shambolic lot behind her who are pretending they know what they are doing when they clearly don't". He claimed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has clashed with May over Brexit, told him to do it. "MPs' confidence in Theresa May is at a low point", said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, an online trading platform. May's de facto deputy, Damian Green, also said she would carry on.

The events came as questions over the Prime Minister continue to be asked.

But another MP did warn: "The duty is on us to support the leadership with the necessary discipline".

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