Published: 17:53, 22 May 2019
| Updated: 17:53, 22 May 2019
An MP tipped as an outside contender for the Tory leadership has called for Prime Minister Theresa May to step down, declaring "leadership matters and it has been absent for too long".
In an article for the Financial Times, Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat said: "It is now time for Prime Minister Theresa May to go - and without delay.
"She must announce her resignation after Thursday’s European elections. And the Conservative party must fast track the leadership process to replace her."
He goes on to explain how, post-Brexit, the "mood in Britain has darkened" and the public has "lost faith in politicians and the established parties to deliver what the voted for" - while the Conservative Party has been "divided and weakened".
Mr Tugendhat, chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee, writes: "Mrs May has made valiant efforts to deliver Brexit.
"She will be remembered as someone who faced the greatest political challenge this country has encountered since the Second World War.
"But she has failed. After the European elections, we have one last chance to get Brexit right with the right leader."
During the referendum, Mr Tugendhat voted for Britain to remain in the European Union.
But, he writes, "the decision to leave was taken three years ago and I know that there is no way back. That’s why I have voted for the withdrawal agreement Mrs May negotiated with the EU at every turn - even though I shared deep concerns about its weaknesses."
But after Mrs May's multiple failed attempts to win over the Commons with her withdrawal deal, Mr Tugendhat believes it is time for her to step down.
"The Conservative party has one last chance to save the country from this disaster," he writes. "The only question that matters now is what - and crucially who - comes next.
"Leadership matters; it has been absent for too long. This can only change with a new prime minister who can inject fresh energy into a moribund process and rebuild the trust necessary to deliver a deal."
More by this authorLydia Chantler-Hicks