Theresa May set to give in to pressure and announce she is resigning as Prime Minister

Posted On: 
24th May 2019

Theresa May is expected to announce on Friday that she is resigning as Prime Minister.

Theresa May's days as Prime Minister are numbered.
Credit: 
PA Images

She will tell Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, that she will trigger a leadership race after finally accepting she cannot deliver Brexit.

Mrs May has come under increasing pressure in recent days following an angry backlash to her Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

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In particular, Cabinet ministers told her they could not support the legislation because of its clause giving MPs a vote on another EU referendum.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Prime Minister in a meeting on Thursday that she should scrap the WAB rather than force loyal Conservative MPs to support it when it no chance  of passing.

Separately, Home Secretary Sajid Javid told Mrs May he could not support the bill unless the referendum section was ditched.

In a sign of her waning authority, the PM was forced to go back on a promise to publish the WAB on Friday so that it could be hastily re-written.

Sir Graham and the PM are expected to meet in Downing Street on Friday morning, when he is expected to make it clear that unless she begins the process of her departure, Tory rules will be changed to allow MPs to unseat her next month.

It is expected that Mrs May will say she is resigning on 10 June, the week after Donald Trump's state visit to the UK and events to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

That will fire the starting gun on a leadership race which could see a new Prime Minister in place by the end of July.

Boris Johnson is the clear favourite to replace Mrs May, but there is a large number of Tory MPs committed to ensuring he does not succeed.

Rory Stewart and Esther McVey have already confirmed that they will throw their hats into the ring, with Mr Hunt, Mr Javid, Domini Raab and Andrea Leadsom among those also expected to take part in the contest.

Former deputy Prime Minister Damian Green, Mrs May's closest political ally, said her successor should be from the moderate wing of the party.

Speaking on the BBC's Question Time, he said: "I haven’t announced yet who I’m going to support. But what I will say, which I think is clear, is that we need an approach of, if you like, moderate, pragmatic, compassionate Conservativism, One Nation Conservatism, so that we can get to grips not just with the sort of hard-nosed economic issues, which the Conservative Party has traditionally been concerned with, but also with public services, with the environment, with other areas, where frankly we’ve lost our voice in recent years and we need to regain our voice.

"So, whoever the leader is will need to meet that sort of set of principles for me."