The meeting of Tory MPs to decide the fate of Theresa May is just moments away – it’s scheduled to start at 5pm – and it seems Theresa May and her whips are worried that the vote will be tight.
Tight enough for them to restore the Tory whip to two MPs who have been suspended for months over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths resigned from the front bench and was suspended in July, after admitting sending thousands of sexually explicit texts to much younger women. He has said that he intends to vote for Theresa May.
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke was suspended late last year over alleged sexual offences involving two female members of his staff. He has tweeted about his reinstatement:
May is still expected to win, but all the signs are that she does not think it will be comfortable – especially after reports that as many as five Cabinet ministers, who have said they will support her, intend to vote against her in the secret ballot.
The reinstatements have a side-effect of raising the number of votes she needs to survive from 158 to 159, as she requires more than half of Tory MPs and the suspended pair were technically independents until today.
In May, the Tories reinstated a councillor suspended for sharing a racist joke in order to take control of Pendle council – even though a council investigator’s report concluded that her claim she had shared it accidentally was not credible.
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