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About 50 Conservative lawmakers discuss ousting UK Prime Minister Theresa May

About 50 Conservative lawmakers discuss ousting UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Leading Brexit supporters on Wednesday denied reports they were manoeuvering to remove Prime Minister Theresa May - while stepping up opposition to her plan to withdraw Britain from the EU.

The rift in May's party deepened this week, with her former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who quit the cabinet over the Chequers proposal, comparing May's plan in a newspaper column to putting a "suicide vest" on Britain's constitution.

The prime minister's comments came days after Conservative MPs opposed to her Brexit plan met to discuss how and when they could force her to stand down.

He said, however, he personally was no part of any leadership challenge, while another MP who attended said only five or six MPs openly discussed removing May.

Around 50 MPs are understood to have discussed ways and means of getting rid of the PM at a gathering of the European Research Group (ERG).

"I have long said, and repeated again and again, that the policy needs to be changed but I am supporting the person", he said.

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ERG leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, who did not attend Tuesday's meeting, told reporters at an event on Wednesday that he wanted May to stay on. "Under the first, Chequers will be parked until talks resume after Brexit day for a loosely-worded fudge on the future relationship instead.The second option is to abandon it altogether and return to a more basic Canada style free trade agreement - but only if the European Union gives way on its Irish border hardline". The EU and Britain hope to clinch a deal later this year so parliaments on both sides can ratify it before Brexit.

But support for Brexit has increased by almost half a percentage point in europhile Ken Clarke's Rushcliffe constituency.

As competing visions for post-Brexit Britain continue to divide the Conservatives, George Freeman has warned of "a danger in Parliament of a real crisis" this winter amid reports of a plot to topple the prime minister.

"I think we should let the prime minister get Brexit over the line at the end of March and leave the longer-term debate about what our new relationship is to a new-generation leader".

Mrs May said his language was "completely inappropriate" when he described her Brexit strategy as putting the United Kingdom in a "suicide vest".