Theresa May told to set out timetable for departure as she survives latest attempt to dump her
Tory Party rules will not be changed to make it easier for the party's MPs to oust Theresa May, it has been confirmed.
In a major boost for the embattled Prime Minister, the executive of the Conservatives' backbench 1922 Committee ruled that a challenge to her leadership cannot take place until December at the earliest.
But Tory MPs have also called on Mrs May to set out a clear timetable for when she plans to quit Downing Street if Parliament refuses to back her Brexit deal.
Mrs May survived a vote of no confidence in her shortly before Christmas last year, and under party rules another one could not take place for another 12 months.
Some senior Tory MPs called for that to be halved, meaning she could have faced another crunch vote in June.
But following two meetings of the 1922 executive, it was decided that the rulebook should not be re-written - although the PM must say when she plans to stand down.
Speaking after informing a meeting of Tory MPs of the decision, 1922 committee chairman Sir Graham Brady said: "The decision was that first of all we determined that there should not be a rule change to remove the 12 month period of grace during which a second confidence vote cannot be held.
"We further determined that we should remind colleagues that it is always available to them to write to me raising concerns, including their concerns about the leadership of the party and that the strength of opinion would be communicated by me to the leader of the party should they decide to do so.
"And thirdly we determined that following the Prime Minister's decision a few weeks ago to set out a clear schedule for her departure as leader of the party in the event of the withdrawal agreement being passed, we would seek similar clarity from her in other circumstances.
"So I think the 1922 executive is asking on behalf of the Consrervative Party in Parliament that we should have a clear road map forwards."
Damian Green, a close ally of Mrs May, welcomed the decision.
He said: "We've got council elections next week, that's what we really care about. Can we all stop squabbling with each other and get on with the council elections?"
Former Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, who resigned last month over Brexit, said he was "perfectly happy" with the decision.
"We have a process to guard us against making arbitrary decisions because in those situations no one is ever secure," he said. "The whole point of having a process is to make sure that leaders are not continually under pressure from one group or another.
"The main plea from a lot of colleagues was that we had a good week last week because we weren't here talking about it. We have council candidates out there who are being affected by this, let them get on with the job and stop talking about this aspect of political life."