Senior Tory MPs give Theresa May until this afternoon to set out resignation 'road map'

Posted On: 
8th May 2019

Theresa May has been given until this afternoon to set out a "road map" for her exit from Downing Street, it has been reported.

Theresa May is under renewed calls to quit as Brexit drags on

According to the Daily Telegraph, 1922 committee chairman, Sir Graham Brady, delivered the ultimatum in talks with the Prime Minister on Tuesday.

The committee's executive is due to meet to discuss the matter at 4pm on Wednesday, by which time Mrs May is expected to clarify exactly when she will stand down.

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Mrs May has already vowed to resign once MPs back the Government's Brexit deal, but has given no indication when she could leave if the ongoing deadlock continues.

Downing Street yesterday said the UK may not leave the EU until August, further pushing back the Prime Minister's potential departure date.

Tory party rules protect the Prime Minister from facing another leadership challege until December - one year on from the last unsuccessful attempt to oust her from office.

But increasing frustration at Mrs May's handling of Brexit, coupled with the Conservatives' disastrous showing at last week's local elections, has led to calls from senior Conservative MPs for a change of the rules so she can be challenged sooner.

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith branded Mrs May a "caretaker Prime Minister".

"We have to make a change", he said. "The (1922) Committee has to sit again, now, urgently and decide that either the Prime Minister sets the immedate date for her departure or, I'm afraid, they must do it for her."


Announcing a date for her departure could also stave off a symbolic leadership ballot by senior activists within her party.

The National Conservative Convention is set to hold an extraordinary general meeting on 15 June 15 at which its members will be able to pass judgement on her performance over Brexit.

The meeting of the 800-strong body of activists marks the first time in the party's 185-year history that a Tory leader has faced such action from grassroots members.

The group said almost three years on from the Brexit vote, it was clear Mrs may was no longer the "right person" to lead the negotiations with the EU.

Meanwhile, Tory MP Nigel Evans, who also sits on the 1922 executive committee, said the local election results had hardened the resolve of those seeking to remove Mrs May.

"You can't just kick the can down the road until December - we have seen the damage that was done at the local elections," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"We have got the European elections - that is going to be carnage, you have got the Peterborough by-election.

"The pressure is now coming from all quarters, not just other people on Thursday not just MPs but loyal associations in an unprecedented EGM.

"Even in the dark days of John Major we never got to this stage. We need a resolution because there is an existential threat to the Conservative Party. It needs to be dealt with."

But Charles Walker, vice-chairman of the committee, slammed Tory hardliners who he said were to blame for the delay to the UK's exit from the EU.

“If they voted with the Government we would have had a majority of 10, we would be left if we’d put our foot down on the accelerator by 12 April, and we would have had an entirely different set of local election results," he told BBC Radio 4.

He added: "There are colleagues who have suggested the Prime Minister should go. The Prime Minister has said she wants to leave early in her premiership but she doesn’t want to leave this God almighty mess.

“I think there’s a blame displacement process going on within the Conservative Party at the moment, laying it all on her shoulders.

“We all need to take personal responsibility for the fact that we are still in the EU and we are in government. This idea that a new Prime Minister [will] all be sweetness and light is for the birds."