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Prime Minister under growing pressure after fallout from conference speech continues

By Paul Francis

Kent MPs have rallied behind Theresa May as she faces calls to consider her position.

The Prime Minister is under renewed pressure following her conference speech which was blighted by a persistent cough and a comedian breaching security to hand her a fake P45 notice.

Although she has the public support of Kent and Medway MPs, one Conservative association chairman warned that she would have to consider her position if she was unable to unite the party.

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Damian Green paid tribute
Damian Green paid tribute

Paul Cooper, chairman of the Maidstone and Weald Conservative Association, urged Mrs May to show she was in control.

He said: “I think the time has come for her to show leadership and bring her cabinet into line. We have a choice whether to replace her or get behind her. The continued in fighting is the decay of the party.”

If she was unable to do so, she should “consider whether she will be able to unite the cabinet and command a lead over her party. Otherwise she should consider her position."

Cllr Andrew Bowles, chairman of the Faversham and Mid Kent Conservative Association, called on MPs to stop sniping at the PM.

He said: “The most important thing at the moment is for us to sort out Brexit and we need to get behind the team. Let's get out of Europe first and then consider what to do. We just do not need this disruption.”

VIDEO: Voters have their say on Theresa May's future

Asked what message he had for MPs who were calling for her to quit, he said: “They should shut up and pull together.”

Cllr Andrew Bowles
Cllr Andrew Bowles

He said he expected Mrs May to remain in post until the next election in 2020.

Ashford MP and First Secretary of State Damian Green said it was "nonsense" to suggest she should quit because her speech was interrupted by a cough and a prankster.

He said Mrs May was "as determined as ever" to get on with the job.

Meanwhile Chatham And Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch tweeted:

And there was a rap on the knuckles for those calling for her to go from Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst:

The former party chairman Grant Shapps has revealed that around 30 Conservative MPs wanted the PM to consider her position.

However, there was no formal letter demanding a leadership contest at this point, he added.

"The time has come. You can't just carry on when things aren't working. The solution is not to bury heads in the sand," he told Radio 4.

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