OXFORDSHIRE Conservatives have declined to give Theresa May their wholehearted backing, blaming dreadful local election results on the party’s national performance.

Ahead of an unprecedented meeting between grassroots activists and their own prime minister, the chairman of Oxford Conservatives says he is undecided on whether to back Mrs May in a vote of confidence.

The ousted Tory leaders of South Oxfordshire (SODC) and Vale of White Horse district councils also offered limited comfort to their leader, amid calls from countless Conservatives nationwide for her to go.

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Conservatives across the county faced heavy losses in council elections eight days ago and are braced for similar results in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Daniel Stafford, the new chairman of Oxford Conservatives, said: “There is frustration and disappointment. We went out to help friends across the county and it is terribly sad to see councils who have worked very hard lose primarily because national issues have overtaken.”

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Ahead of the vote, on June 15, he added: “We do not have a position (on whether to back Mrs May). It’s right that we should have a robust discussion and I am looking forward to the prime minister making her case.

“We want evidence that she has a clear and positive plan. If I am confident she could deliver that, she will enjoy my support.”

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Adding that he respected her ‘effort and public duty’, Mr Stafford continued: “I am not going to arrive at the meeting decided. I do not rule out (voting against her).”

Former SODC leader Jane Murphy said the party’s core supporters did not come out and blamed national politics for disillusioning remainers and leavers.

Witney Gazette:

She added that the prime minister ‘tried her best’ and had been given ‘a poison chalice’ but that the public now want a decision: ‘someone new or keeping Mrs May’.

Her former Vale counterpart, Roger Cox, said he did have confidence in the prime minister but that it was ‘devastating’ to be judged so ‘cruelly’ locally based on the national picture.

Witney Gazette:

Former town and district councillor Ben Mabbett, from Wantage, said Mrs May ‘had to shoulder some of the blame’ for recent results and that he did not ‘have a lot of confidence in her anymore’ - adding that ‘she should set a date to leave’.

Wantage MP Ed Vaizey said he was 'very sad indeed' to see Tory councillors go and claimed many 'will rightly blame Westminster' and limited Brexit progress.

READ AGAIN: Local elections: Ed Vaizey has his say on bad day for Conservatives

Witney Gazette:

Mr Vaizey said his party needed to 'restore faith' in the party following the results.