The full extent of the Tory Brexit meltdown has been exposed in a shock poll – which shows almost HALF of councillors are set to back Nigel Farage.
Only 52% of Conservative councillors plan to vote for their own party in the EU elections, according to a damning Survation poll of 781 of them.
And a whopping 40% said they plan to vote for the Brexit Party, the new outfit set up by Farage in direct opposition to the Tories.
The survey reveals the depth of anger against Theresa May among grassroots Tories after she delayed Brexit to October 31, and opened cross-party talks that could lead to a softer deal.
Some 96% of councillors said the Brexit deadlock damaged the party. And 76% want the Prime Minister to resign – with 43% saying she must go immediately.
One councillor questioned in the study said: “The Conservative Party is dead. It will take a strong leader to dredge it out of the mud.”
The open revolt makes eye-watering reading for Theresa May as the Tories defend more than 4,000 of the 8,000 seats in local elections on May 2.
Those town hall polls will then be followed by the European Parliament elections on May 23, where Nigel Farage’s party is hoping to grab many of the 73 seats on offer – at the expense of both main parties.
Today’s survey comes after the Tory group on Derbyshire County Council revealed it would not campaign for the party in the European elections.
And other councillors are describing themselves as ‘local’ Conservatives in order to distance themselves from the central party.
Barry Lewis, who has led the Derbyshire authority since May 2017, said: “We were promised, following the largest public mandate a UK Government has ever received, that we would be out by March 29.
“The Prime Minister said we would be out by that date countless times, so did many others in Government.
“And yet here we are racing towards the end of April and facing an increased prospect of participating in a European election in May that should not be happening.”
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Farage claimed “millions of natural Tory voters have said emphatically that they will never vote Conservative again.”
He added: “Far from being seen as the party to solve the EU question, the Tories are now actively regarded by a growing number of people as being a major part of the problem.
“Under Theresa May’s stewardship, there has been near-anarchy on the Tory benches in Parliament for the past couple of years, as MPs have deliberately gone against the party’s manifesto and done everything they can to thwart the referendum result.
“Her own chicanery makes it unclear whether she has merely tolerated this behaviour or encouraged it.”
Tory activists fear a drubbing in the elections that will pile pressure on Theresa May to stand down.
Reports emerged today of a fresh plot to oust Mrs May by June 30 by changing party rules, to allow more than once leadership challenge per year.
Sir Graham Brady of backbenchers’ 1922 Committee will meet her this week and say 70% of Tory MPs want her to resign, according to the Sunday Times.
A survey of 1,132 Tory members by the ConservativeHome website found 79% want Mrs May to quit.
With Mrs May promising to stand down once her Brexit deal is passed, the Conservatives are already in a full-blown leadership contest in all but name.
Jeremy Hunt, Amber Rudd, Boris Johnson, Sajid Javid and Dominic Raab are among senior figures upping their profile ahead of a party contest.
Today’s Survation poll found a higher proportion, 65%, would back the Tories in EU elections if Boris Johnson was leader and Prime Minister.
Mr Johnson was backed by 23% as the best leader, followed by Michael Gove on 14%, Jeremy Hunt on 12%, Sajid Javid on 11% and Dominic Raab on 9%.
Survation questioned 781 Tory councillors between April 17 and 19 on behalf of the Mail on Sunday.
Some 43% said Mrs May should resign now and 33% once a Brexit deal has been reached – the timetable the Prime Minister has indicated for her departure.
As an extension to the Brexit process has been granted until October, the UK is obliged to elect 73 MEPs to the European Parliament.
They will sit from July 2 until Britain leaves on October 31 – or when the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified in the Commons.
But EU chiefs have signalled they will be willing to delay Brexit again.