Sussex Conservative MP Henry Smith delivered a hammer blow to beleaguered Prime Minister Theresa May's hopes of clinging on to power when he declared "it's time for you to go and that time is now".

Mr Smith, Tory MP for Crawley, has been a vocal critic of the entire Brexit process and said defiantly: "My constituents voted to leave and the country voted to leave and that process needs to be carried through."

When asked whether he had leadership ambitions himself he replied, in an exclusive interview with The Argus: "Of course as a young man every aspiring politician dreams of that.

"But that time has passed. I am not going to name those who I think should lead the party but I think the next leader should come from the younger generation with the vision to take the party forward.

"I do feel sorry for Theresa. She looks tired and clearly this entire process has taken a lot out of her. But now it's the time for change. 

"As far as I am concerned the EU is an undemocratic institution and it's time for us to reclaim our rights once the process is concluded. Britain will be fine. 

"I have nothing but praise for her commitment and energy but the bottom line is we are no nearer securing an acceptable deal.

"I must stress this is not about us being 'little Englanders' but it is time for us to play to our strengths because as far as I am concerned the European Union is undemocratic.

"I am disappointed with a no deal being off the table because it weakens our position. I hope negotiations can be reopened with the EU and an agreement can be reached and that it is acceptable, but tonight has not helped at all.

"The extension to May 23 is just pointless because it delays the negotiations and we would be exactly where we were. The problem with it being delayed beyond May 23 is we will need to vote for MEPs and European countries will see it as a referendum and they elect populist parties to government."

Mr Smith added he agrees with Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven, who said it is time for the Prime Minister to go.

He said: "I agree with Lloyd and in December I wrote a letter of no confidence. Mrs May has botched these negotiations over the last two-and-a-half years.

"I don't question her energy and she has worked tirelessly. But unfortunately she has done a very poor job and her credibility has run out. 

"We can't change leaders tomorrow because that would be unrealistic. We need to go beyond Brexit and then we could change the leader.

"I don't think Mrs May has the right approach to Brexit. She treats it as something that needs to be mitigated, rather than seeing it as an opportunity."

It was later confirmed that Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, abstained from the no Brexit vote.