Sunak must be replaced as PM, says former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke

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Sunak must be replaced as PM, says former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke

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By Sam Francis
Political reporter, BBC News

A senior Tory MP has called for his party to replace Rishi Sunak as prime minister or be "massacred" in the general election.

In an article in the Telegraph, former cabinet secretary Sir Simon Clarke said the Conservatives needed a leader who "shares the instincts of the majority".

Sir Simon, who rebelled on the Rwanda Bill, said the party has lost "key voters" by failing to be bold on immigration and government reform.

Downing Street has yet to comment.

A general election is expected in the second half of this year. The latest the next election could legally be held is 28 January 2025.

Sir Simon is now the second former minister publicly calling for Mr Sunak to resign. Former education minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns submitted a letter of no confidence in the prime minister in November.

After serving as Chief Secretary to the Treasury while Mr Sunak was Chancellor, Sir Simon became an enthusiastic supporter of Liz Truss's leadership bid and joined her cabinet.

Conservative MPs can only trigger a leadership election if 53 MPs write to the chair of the 1922 Committee requesting one.

In his Telegraph op-ed, Sir Simon said "the Conservative Party under Rishi Sunak once again stands on the opposite, crumbling bank of this widening precipice".

The former levelling up secretary said Tory MPs might be "afraid" of electing a fourth leader in two years but asked: "Which is worse: a week of chaotic headlines in Westminster, or a decade of decline under Keir?"

"Every Conservative MP will need to live with the decision they make in the coming days for the rest of their lives. Failing to act would itself represent a decision," he added.

Sir Simon's comments come after a week of open rebellion against Mr Sunak over his flagship Rwanda Bill - to deter migrants from crossing the Channel in small boats.

Last week 61 Conservative MPs voted to change the bill as it went through Parliament - the biggest rebellion of Mr Sunak's premiership.

Read more at BBC news.
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