Tory MP reveals plot to oust PM Cameron
A plot to oust David Cameron has been revealed by a backbench Conservative MP who was asked to consider a “stalking horse” leadership challenge against the PM, The Mail on Sunday has exposed.
Colonel Bob Stewart said he was approached by two party colleagues before the summer recess with the proposal. He told the Press Association, “It was a silly suggestion that I dismissed. I told them to get lost.”
Stewart declined to name the plotters and said he didn’t know who the pair was operating for. “I do not know; I do not care,” he said, insisting he remained loyal to Cameron who was “the reason [he] came into politics”.
The Mail on Sunday also reported details of secret talks involving Tory MP Zac Goldsmith offering his safe seat to Boris Johnson, who is being tipped as a potential Conservative leadership challenger to Mr Cameron in the next election. Goldsmith has vowed to resign as the MP for Richmond if the Government revives controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport, also opposed by Mayor Johnson.
Goldsmith told The Mail on Sunday : “I saw Boris this week and we compared notes on Heathrow to see what we could do to kill off the third runway.”
Johnson, who dismissed suggestions he could cut short his mayoral term to launch a leadership bid, has led the outcry over the reconsideration of Heathrow’s expansion.
He strongly criticised the reshuffle ousting of Justine Greening as Transport Secretary and has expressed fears the Government plans a “stealthy U-turn”.
Cameron has ordered a cross-party commission to seek consensus on the divisive issue of airport capacity in South East England but has insisted he will not break a manifesto pledge ruling out a third runway at Heathrow during this Parliament.
The Mayor discussed the issue with the premier in the margins of a meeting this week of the high-profile committee overseeing the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“It’s no secret the Mayor opposes the building of a third runway, he was re-elected opposing any such notion, he’ll continue to oppose any such notion, and he’ll be doing it as Mayor of London,” the spokesman said.
“The Mayor believes the Government’s announcement of an Independent Commission has at least re-opened the debate on aviation capacity. That gives him the opportunity to demonstrate why Heathrow expansion isn’t the answer, and the creation of a new four runway hub airport is. The Mayor will be doing both, in the weeks and months ahead.”