London: As the 23 June referendum deadline nears, British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing a major
challenge to his leadership of the ruling Conservative party as rebel MPs began speaking out openly against him over his handling of the UK's membership of the European Union (EU).
MPs have warned that unless Cameron led a campaign to keep Britain within the economic bloc won with a decisive majority, his future as Prime Minister would be on the line.
"If remain win by a narrow majority, or if leave win, he's toast within days," Tory MP Nadine Dorries told ITV channel in an interview on Sunday. Her warning came soon after another party colleague in favour of Brexit, Andrew Bridgen told BBC that Cameron had been making "outrageous" claims in his bid to persuade voters to back remain and that, as a consequence, he had effectively lost his parliamentary majority.
"The party is fairly fractured, straight down the middle and I don't know which character could possibly pull it back together going forward for an effective government. I honestly think we probably need to go for a general election before Christmas and get a new mandate from the people," Bridgen said.
He also claimed that at least 50 Tory MPs, the number needed to call a confidence vote felt the same way about
Cameron and that a vote on the Prime Minister’s future was "probably highly likely" after the referendum.
It comes after a fairly personal attack aimed at Cameron by Indian-origin employment minister Priti Patel in an article for the Sunday Telegraph: "If you have private wealth or if you work for Goldman Sachs you'll be fine. But when public services are under pressure, it is those people who do not have the luxury of being able to afford the alternatives who are most vulnerable.
"It's shameful that those leading the pro-EU campaign fail to care for those who do not have their advantages".
Meanwhile, Cameron kept up the momentum of his campaign against Brexit and is even set to share the stage with newly-elected London mayor Sadiq Khan — from the Opposition Labour party on Monday.
Khan said he had chosen to leave the mayoral election campaign negativity from Cameron's party behind to join hands. He said: "Is it in London's interest for me to hold grudges? Is it in London's interests for the mayor of London to be at permanent war with the Conservative prime minister? We're never going to be best friends, but what is important is that the mayor of London argues the case for London and for Londoners to remain in the European Union.
"This debate is far more important than David Cameron or me. It's about our city's future and country's future". During London's mayoral election race, Cameron had repeatedly attacked Khan for having a history of sharing platforms with extremists, which Khan had repeatedly rejected.
Khan and Cameron jointly launched a 'Britain Stronger In Europe' battle bus in London, despite Labour leader Jeremy
Corbyn refusing to campaign with Cameron.Cameron congratulated Khan on his victory in the Mayoral contest, saying, "I'm proud to be here with the mayor of London - with the Labour mayor of London - on this vital, vital issue.
He hailed the fact that "someone who is a proud Muslim, a proud Briton and a proud Londoner can become mayor of the greatest city on Earth." "That says something about our country," Cameron said.
He said he expected many disagreements with the London Mayor but they were both part of "an incredibly broad campaign" in favour of EU membership.
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Updated Date: May 30, 2016 18:27:34 IST