Theresa May has dismissed the idea she might be ousted as prime minister, telling reporters “what the country needs is calm leadership, and that’s what I’m providing, with the full support of my cabinet.”
The reassurance came after Grant Shapps, the former Conservative party chairman, emerged as the head of a backbench plot to unseat the leader in the wake of a disastrous speech at party conference.
We asked our readers what the party needs to do to get back on track. Of those who responded to our callout, Conservative voters were split on when the right time to remove May would be, and who is best placed to replace her.
Below, we share a selection of their views.
‘The boil of Boris Johnson needs to be lanced’
There is no obvious candidate to replace Theresa May with all the front runners tainted by the Brexit debate and ongoing squabbles and this issue hobbles the party. Theresa May herself seems to flounder from one issue to another with no authority. I suspect that many of the MPs with leadership ambitions may well be biding their time, not wanting to be the ones in charge when / if Brexit blows up in their face. In the meantime we carry on with a lame duck PM that is unable to communicate her vision of the UK in the future or to celebrate the successes that the government is achieving.
The boil of Boris Johnson needs to be lanced one way or the other. That may result in Theresa May falling or it may not but as a country we can’t carry on with a divided leadership, unclear on the tactics of the number one issue we are facing. Ironically, on many other topics, I think the government are doing ok. The economy is defying the doom and gloom, unemployment is low, inflation is within the 1% tolerance of the 2% target. Even government borrowing is better than expected.
Gary Stevens, 50, Wokingham
‘They need someone who looks at home in the 21st century’
The party essentially abandoned the centre ground going into the general election. Perhaps anticipating Labour would run on a far-left ticket, the Tories decided to run on a far right ticket headlined by fox hunting, Brexit and attacks on benefits for pensioners.
Labour ran an exceptional campaign strong on issues that really resonated with the electorate. I do think they benefited from pubic disquiet with Brexit, Trump and the extreme alt-right and so their support may be a little softer than they imagine if the Tories can return to the centre ground.
As a centrist who has voted Conservative and Labour, I’d like to see both parties in the hands of competent managers rather than visionaries. The Tories are a very effective vote-winning machine and good at regenerating themselves. The easy answer is to say they’ll go with Boris but I think Brexit may have harmed his chances. They need to find a young centrist in the Cameron mould. Someone who looks at home in the 21st century.
Keith Burton, 48, Basingstoke
‘We’ve lost control of the narrative’
We need to react quicker to events, and control the narrative. Labour are ignoring facts on many issues, distorting them on others, and lowering everything to a purely emotional level. They have taken control of social media, and through this provide ideologically based, evidence-free coverage of everything to credulous young people.
Gary Charles, 39, Pharmacy Technician, London
‘House prices are seen as some weird elixir’
The party needs to work on the youth vote. It’s a disgrace what’s happened since 2001. Rising house prices are seen as some weird elixir, but ultimately, most people just a little younger than me have no hope in hell of buying a house or putting money aside for a pension.
Instead they face enormous debt, and a life of high rent. With that kind of future I’d be just as inclined to vote for someone on the far left. That’s from a public school boy. What buy in do they have to the current system? Yes the economy will suffer as asset owners will feel the pinch, but equally renters will have more discretionary income if rents fall, so I doubt the fall will be that bad. What is a certainty is that the longer the current situation continues, the worse the eventual social crisis - and I say that as a home owner.
James Montrose, 39, London
‘Boris Johnson is a winner’
The party needs Boris Johnson as leader. I’ve been disappointed in him in some ways but politics is about winning -and he wins, and is pro Brexit. The public like someone that sounds like a leader. Boris does, but he will need strong help in cabinet.
Now there is a real choice between the political ideologies of market-based capitalism and state socialism. Whoever argues their case better will win the next election. We have two very imperfect political parties, but I strongly believe the Tories are the lesser of the two evils.
Joe Hosken, 58, self-employed
Some names have been changed
This article was written by Guardian readers, for theguardian.com on Friday 6th October 2017 14.30 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010