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Theresa May calls emergency meeting at Chequers in bid to quell 'attempted coup'; The Prime Minister has been facing calls to step aside after her Brexit deal was defeated twice in Parliament.

Byline: Philip Dewey

Theresa May has called a meeting with Brexiteers at her country retreat Chequers in a bid to quell a reported attempted coup.

The Prime Minister has allegedly been faced with calls from within her own Cabinet to make way for someone else to oversee the country through Brexit.

HerBrexitdeal has been defeated twice by Parliament which forced the UK's deadline for leaving theEUextended beyond March 29.

While work is being done to prepare a new deal,Mrs Maymay not bring it back to Parliament of there is still not enough support for it.

Among those who are believed to be attending the meeting at Mrs May's Buckinghamshire residence on Sunday include her de facto deputy and minister for the cabinet office David Lidington, environment secretary Michael Gove, Brexit minister Stephen Barclay, chief whip Julian Smith and Eurosceptics including Duncan Smith, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dominic Raab.

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There is also due to be a meeting with Cabinet ministers on Monday morning.

The Sunday Times claims that 11 Cabinet ministers have called for Mr Lidington to take over as caretaker Prime Minister but the Mail on Sunday claims it is Mr Gove who is being proposed.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr Lidington denied wanting to oust Mrs May.

He said: "I don't think that I've any wish to take over from the PM (who) I think is doing a fantastic job.

"I tell you this: one thing that working closely with the Prime Minister does is cure you completely of any lingering shred of ambition to want to do that task.

"I have absolute admiration for the way she is going about it."

Chancellor Philip Hammond accused those allegedly trying to topple Mrs May of being "self-indulgent", while former party leader Iain Duncan Smith told ministers who briefed against the Prime Minister to apologise and "shut up".

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Mr Hammond added: "This is not about the Prime Minister or any other individual, this is about the future of our country.

"Changing Prime Minister wouldn't help us, changing the party in government wouldn't help us: we've got to address the question of what type of Brexit is acceptable to Parliament."

Mr Hammond also announced that Parliament would be given the chance to hold indicative votes on alternatives to the PM's Brexit deal this week, but said a decision had not yet been made on whether Tories would be granted free votes.

And, after hundreds of thousands of people marched through central London demanding a so-called People's Vote, he said a second referendum was a "perfectly coherent position" which "deserves to be considered along with the other proposals".

MPs will be given the chance to seek to take control of the Brexit process from the Government if they back plans for a series of indicative votes when they vote on their favoured Brexit outcomes on Monday night.

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David Lidington, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Credit: PA

The front entrance to Chequers, the Prime Minister's official country residence
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Publication:Wales Online (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 24, 2019
Words:537
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