WATCH: Nicky Morgan: Theresa May should quit as Prime Minister by next autumn
A senior Conservative MP and former Cabinet minister has said that Theresa May should quit as Prime Minister within 18 months.
Nicky Morgan, who was sacked as education secretary last summer, called on Mrs May to leave once the negotiation stage of the Brexit withdrawal was finished, likely to be next autumn.
In a separate interview, Ms Morgan stopped short of ruling out standing for the top job herself in the future – though she said she was not what the party “needed” at the present time.
The Loughborough MP is one of the most senior Tories in the Commons to put a timetable on Mrs May’s departure after the general election saw the Conservatives lose their overall majority.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Ms Morgan said: “Once that shape of Brexit is concluded, once those deals are very much on the table, the Conservative party must not miss the opportunity at that stage to think about who we want to be our future leader…
“I think the Conservative party – having started on the Brexit road – really is going to own the negotiations, is going to own the shape of Brexit. That is clearly going to be something that will be, if not the issue of the election, will be something that we will be standing on that record in terms of the party going into the next election.”
She said it was “probably right” that the time of Mrs May’s departure would be around next October, when EU negotiator Michel Barnier hopes to have the terms of the Brexit deal finalised and ready for ratification by member states and the European Parliament.
'THE TEA LADY WILL BE STANDING FOR LEADER'
Ms Morgan has been a frequent critic of the Prime Minister on Brexit and grammar schools since she was sacked last summer and she is standing to be chair of the powerful Treasury Committee.
When asked by The House magazine what she thought of reports of Chancellor Philip Hammond standing for PM, she dismissed the reports.
She said: “At the end of the day, the tea lady in No 10 will be standing for leader. I honestly think there is acres of news print, particularly Sunday newspapers to be filled…
“I think people want stories about cross-party consensus on Brexit, extremism, housing, mental health, they think that doesn't sell the newspapers. I think that's what people want."
When she was asked by The House magazine about the possibility of running to be Conservative leader in the future, she downplayed her ambitions.
“No, look, I don't think I'm what's needed,” she replied.
When put to her that she had not fully shut down the idea, she added: “I'm going to focus on hopefully becoming chair of the Treasury Select Committee.”