Divisions over the future of British Prime Minister Theresa May have burst into the open with a former chairman of her party saying 30 Conservative members of Parliament have backed a plot to topple her.
Discussions were reported to be taking place among backbench MPs as to whether Mrs May can carry on following a mishap-strewn address during which a prankster handed her a P45 and she was beset by a persistent cough.
"If ever the PM needed a metaphor for service and duty and resolution through adversity, that battling performance was it!"
"One of the things that established itself very clearly was that the view of the party - of both parliamentary colleagues and activists - is that they regard, correctly, the responsibility of the Conservative Party to be effective and cool-headed in government".
She began by apologising for sparking the costly June election which cost her party its majority in parliament, almost handing over power to Labor under Jeremy Corbyn.
Frustratingly for her it is not her "British Dream" which will lodge in the public consciousness - but the chaotic theatre, which also involved letters tumbling from the campaign slogan stuck on the wall behind her ("Building a country that works for everyone", though apparently with insipid adhesive).
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The prime minister then experienced a coughing attack, remedied by a throat lozenge offered her by Treasury Chancellor Philip Hammond.
British PM Theresa May was set to deliver a speech on Wednesday to restore her leadership in the already faltering Conservative Party.
"Brodkin told her, "[British Foreign Secretary] Boris [Johnson] told me to give you this".
But Mr Shapps, who was co-chair of the party between 2012 and 2015, told the BBC Mrs May was a "perfectly decent person" but had "rolled the dice" and lost over her decision to call a snap election. The understanding audience came to her aid with a lengthy ovation, allowing May to take a drink of water and regain composure.
Gove's intervention came as United Kingdom home secretary Amber Rudd made a very public appeal in "The Daily Telegraph" asking May?to continue despite the "trio of mishaps" that blighted her conference speech.
A former interior minister, May came to power a year ago after her predecessor David Cameron stepped down in the wake of the Brexit referendum in which he had campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union.
In Manchester, cabinet ministers have been lining up to condemn the Labour leader, with Johnson accusing him of "economic masochism" and joking he would like to send him into space.