DEBATE: Will Theresa May face a leadership challenge before October?

Will Theresa May face a leadership challenge before the Conservative party conference in October?

David Waywell, author and political commentator, says YES.

Much as arithmetic suggests that they currently dont have the support inside the parliamentary party to dislodge the Prime Minister, time is a-ticking for the hardline Brexiteers. The further any deal is pushed down the tracks, the fewer opportunities they have to decide its destination.

Boris Johnsons departure hasnt fundamentally weakened Theresa May, and it might well have strengthened her position with the moderates. That alone raises the possibility that he is eyeing up a leadership challenge. If it also looks odd that hes thrown his lot in with a loud but relatively small faction, with whom he has not previously shared much common ground, then this might be part of a clever (or desperate) gamble.

He might be disliked among his peers, but BoJo remains the darling of the grassroots, and more often than not has a sense of what theyre feeling.

If he is right, and the soul of the party sits further to the hard-Brexit right than currently presented by May, what comes next might well be a seismic shift in our political landscape.

Read more: Brexiters unveil plan to derail Theresa May's Chequers proposals

Olivia Utley, communications manager at Bright Blue, says NO.

Boris Johnson may think he can start a revolution from the backbenches, but Tory MPs are well aware that Brexit day is eight months away – and going back to square one with a new leader at the Brussels negotiating table would be disastrous both for Brexit and the Conservative party.

Once Brexit has happened, Theresa May might well be deposed, but before then, Conservative MPs know which side their bread is buttered. Only two MPs (both long-time vocal May critics) have so far admitted to sending letters of no confidence to Graham Brady at the 1922 committee, and there are no signs that more will follow suit.

Whats more, the Conservative parliamentary party knows that a Brexit-focused leadership contest this summer would try the publics patience – something that cant be risked with Jeremy Corbyn in opposition and Momentum on the warpath.

In fact, despite what it might like look like from the outside, May is in the strongest position shes been in for months.

Read more: Merkel: We will approach Brexit talks in 'the spirit of friendship'

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