Tories give ‘tearful’ May two weeks before she must set a date for leaving as Boris makes his move: Johnson FINALLY confirms he will run, as MPs say PM MUST state departure timetable by June
- Theresa May told to ‘do her duty’ and quit as Brexit deal faces 100-vote defeat
- The PM has faced senior Tory MPs at behind-closed-doors meeting in Commons
- During ‘frank’ exchanges they effectively gave her notice to quit in two weeks
- Shock poll finds Mrs May’s personal ratings are at lowest since she became PM
- Tory support has slumped to a 17-year low amid challenge from the Brexit Party
- Nick Timothy, her former chief of staff, said the PM must ‘accept the game is up’
Theresa May was effectively given a fortnight’s grace today after making a ‘tearful’ appeal for one last chance to deliver Brexit at a meeting with senior Tories.
The Prime Minister is said to have been ’emotional’ and ‘frustrated’ during the showdown with members of the powerful 1922 committee in her Commons office.
But despite the MPs stopping short of ordering her to name the date for her departure, she is still facing an effective deadline in the form of a crunch vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill in just over two weeks’ time.
A statement released by 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady after the meeting made clear he expects Mrs May to set out a schedule for departure whatever the result of the Commons clash.
It came as Boris Johnson broke cover to confirm that he will stand to replace her in the top job. The ex-foreign secretary told a business conference in Manchester he was ‘going for it’.
According to sources he added that ‘it’s no great secret’ ‘but at present there is no vacancy’.
The Prime Minister (pictured today) is said to have been ’emotional’ and ‘frustrated’ during the showdown with members of the powerful 1922 committee in her Commons office.
Boris Johnson broke cover to confirm that he will stand to replace her in the top job. The ex-foreign secretary told a business conference in Manchester he was ‘going for it’.
Sir Graham said there had been a ‘frank’ exchange with Mrs May, and she was ‘devoting her efforts’ to getting the EU Withdrawal Bill past its first major vote in the Commons.
‘We have agreed that she and I will meet following the second reading of the Bill to agree a timetable for the election of a new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party,’ he added.
An MP who was in the room told MailOnline there were ‘straightforward’ exchanges with the PM, who made no effort to hide her ‘frustration’ with the difficulties delivering Brexit.
‘The PM is frustrated at not being able to deliver Brexit as she promised,’ the MP said. ‘She was quite emotional.
‘She is incredibly frustrated. She is doing her level best to deliver things and people are not going along with her…
‘There was a degree of tears of frustration more than anything else.’
Tory critics told Mrs May she had to consider ‘how long do you keep going before you say someone else has to take up the challenge’ of taking the UK out of the EU.
More pressure was heaped on Mrs May earlier as a poll found her ratings had slumped to their worst ever – with 69 per cent saying they were dissatisfied with her performance.
Underlining the mortal threat posed by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, Tory support has also plummeted to just 25 per cent – down 13 points in a month and the lowest for 17 years – according to the Ipsos MORI survey for the Standard.
Labour was only just ahead on 27 per cent when people were asked which way they would vote in a general election, while the Brexit Party was on 16 per cent and the Lib Dems on 15 per cent.
Theresa May pictured arriving at the Commons today, where she was pleading her case at a behind-closed-doors meeting with around a dozen members of the powerful 1922 committee
After the meeting 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady made clear he expects Mrs May to set out a schedule for departure whatever the result of the Commons clash
Tory support has plummeted to just 25 per cent – the lowest for 17 years – according to the Ipsos MORI survey for the Standard
Mrs May seemed in an upbeat mood as she arrived at Parliament today despite the mounting pressure on her leadership
Nick Timothy, Mrs May’s former chief of staff, said today that it is ‘beyond time for the Prime Minister to accept the game is up’, adding she ‘risks killing the Conservatives for good’.
May vote plan sets up explosive few days for UK politics in June
MPs will get a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the first week of June, setting up a busy few days for the Government.
The legislation will be tables in the week beginning June 3, which is also when US president Donald Trump and his wife Melania visit the UK.
They will be in the country from Monday June 3 to Wednesday June 5.
On Thursday June 6, a by-election will be held in Peterborough to find a replacement for MP Fiona Onasanya, who lost her seat through a recall petition after serving time in prison for lying about a speeding offence.
There are also due to be a host of events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day the same day.
‘Her premiership has failed – her authority is shot. Every day wasted from here makes life harder for whoever leads Britain into the future. We need to end this national humiliation’, he said.
Mrs May’s Commons office is deep in the heart of parliament, away from prying eyes – and the 1922 members have been urged not to leak details.
Some Tories want her to stay – claiming it won’t solve their Brexit conundrum – with one telling MailOnline: ‘Changing the pilot doesn’t change the weather’.
Even fierce critics of the premier are grim gloomy about their prospects of getting her out quickly, with one saying: ‘It should be the end. But with Theresa it only happens when it happens.’
The Prime Minister was in Paris last night for talks with Emmanuel Macron and EU leaders on how to eliminate violent and terrorist content from the internet.
Back home she is insisting she won’t quit until a Brexit deal is passed – but talks with Labour have hit the buffers as they demand a customs union and ponder making a second referendum the price of any deal.
Johnson rival Javid draws a link to Thatcher in attempt to woo Tories on business
Sajid Javid has drawn a comparison between his upbringing and that of Margaret Thatcher as he set out another marker for his leadership campaign.
The Home Secretary, who has not ruled out running to replace Theresa May, made the comments in a speech to mark the release of a think tank report on small businesses in the UK.
He told the Centre for Policy Studies the Government should do more to tax big technology companies fairly and support small businesses.
Mr Javid referred to his father’s experience running a shop and a market stall, and described how he would ‘rush home from school’ to help.
Tory icon Mrs Thatcher was the daughter of a shopkeeper in Grantham, Lincs.
Mr Javid said: ‘My story and Margaret Thatcher’s story, that link to small business, is of course a story for countless people, millions of people throughout our country.
The Home Secretary has always been happy to talk about his father, who was a bus driver.
‘What I haven’t said much is the reason that my dad was a bus driver was he wanted to get a job that could just give him enough savings so that he could do what was burning away in his heart, which was to start his own business,’ Mr Javid said.
‘He did manage to do that after a few years, when he started with market stalls, selling ladies’ clothing.
‘And then he managed to buy a shop which me and my mother and the whole family lived above.
‘I remember selling the blouses, the tights, the skirts … you could say I know more about ladies’ clothing than any other male MP.’
Asked if he would run against Mr Johnson he said: ‘I came here to talk about small business, and I just did that.’
And more than 100 Tory MPs are predicted to vote against the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), which was defeated by 58 votes in March.
With the Brexit Party also expected to hammer the Conservatives in the European elections on May 23, there is a clamour for the PM to go to way for a new leader by the summer.
Mrs May’s Brexit deal could be ‘dead’ in weeks, Cabinet ministers warned yesterday, as sources claimed that the June vote could be her final act as Prime Minister as grassroots members are planning a vote of no confidence.
1922 Committee treasurer Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said today: ‘It would be infinitely preferable if she set a date rather than us force her out.
‘It’s better that she does it than we have a vote of confidence. What I would like to see is her set out a timetable to trigger a leadership contest.’
After the talks with the Prime Minister, the 1922 Committee executive will hold a private meeting where changes to Tory leadership contest rules could be discussed, according to sources.
At present, Mrs May cannot be challenged again as leader until December.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen: ‘I would like to see the 22 give her a timetable to stand down. And, if she does not accept that timetable, tell her we will have another vote of confidence after the European elections.’
Prominent Brexiteer Mark Francois said that a predicted poor Tory showing in next week’s European Parliament elections would heap pressure on Mrs May to go.
He said: ‘As the polls increasingly suggest, we are going to have an extremely difficult night in the European elections.
‘And, because they are announced on a council by council basis, every MP will be able to reverse engineer the result in their own constituency.
‘At that point, I believe, my colleagues will finally wake up and smell the coffee if they have not, indeed, done so already.’
The Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage (pictured campaigning in Brentwood today) is leading the polls for the European elections, which are being held next week
As the meeting was considering the end for Mrs May’s premiership, Boris Johnson broke cover to confirm at a business conference that he will stand to replace her in the top job
Theresa May, pictured in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron last night, is facing demands to name the date she will quit
It came as Tory hardliners, the DUP and Labour lined up to say they would vote it down a fourth time.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox both warned that another rejection could lead to Brexit being cancelled.
Truss: Why I’d back no deal
Liz Truss said last night she would support No Deal if presented with a choice between that and revoking Brexit altogether.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who is positioning herself to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader, said her ‘ideal option’ would be to get a deal.
But asked if she agreed that the only way to stave off Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party was to embrace No Deal, she replied: ‘If we face a straight choice between revoking Brexit and No Deal-ing, we have to No Deal. It’s a matter of trust.’
Some ministers fear the EU will refuse to postpone Britain’s departure again in October when the current deadline falls.
Miss Truss said: ‘We’re living in a kind of purgatory at the moment waiting for something to happen.’
The Prime Minister will today appeal to Tory grandees for a stay of execution while she makes a final attempt to pass her Brexit deal in just over a fortnight.
The executive body of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs will meet Mrs May this morning to decide whether to change the party’s leadership rules and allow a fresh contest that could see her forced out within weeks.
Asked if the new vote would be considered a ‘confidence vote’ for Mrs May, a No 10 source said: ‘That’s not the world we are currently in but clearly the significance of this legislation can’t – and I suspect won’t – be underestimated.’
Mr Barclay told MPs the deal negotiated by Mrs May with Brussels would be ‘dead’ if MPs rejected it again, raising questions about whether the UK would ever leave the EU.
Dr Fox, meanwhile, told an event in London: ‘MPs will have to look and see if they want to continue down a path that inexorably takes us to either the potential revocation of Article 50 or leaving without a deal, and ask themselves if that’s the best course democratically or economically for the UK. MPs will have to face that decision.’
Last night Eurosceptic MPs were lobbying members of the 1922 Committee’s 18-strong executive to ignore Mrs May’s pleas and pull the plug on her today.
One former Cabinet minister said her decision to promise a new vote on her Brexit deal next month was ‘just a scam to try and head off the 1922 Committee changing the leadership rules’, adding: ‘They have to see through it. She cannot be allowed out of that room without giving a date for her departure.’
Labour is also increasing the gap between them and the Tories, a new opinion poll revealed this week
Few voters think Tories OR Labour have a clear vision of Brexit – poll
The scale of the problem facing the two main parties over Brexit has been laid bare in a new poll which reveals fewer than one in five people think Labour or the Conservative Party have a clear policy.
Research from YouGov shows that 13 per cent of voters think Labour has a clear Brexit policy, while 17 per cent think the Conservatives do.
Just 21 per cent of Labour voters in 2017 thought Labour had clear Brexit policy, while 26 per cent of their Tory counterparts said the same of the Conservatives.
The two largest parties were the least clear on Brexit of all the national parties, according to the poll.
In the YouGov poll, the Brexit Party was the only party that a majority thought was clear on the issue, with 59 per cent of respondents saying it had understandable policy.
The Liberal Democrats were perceived to be the clearest of the anti-Brexit parties, with 41 per cent of the whole sample and just over half of Remain voters saying they thought policy was clear.
The Greens and Change UK, which are both campaigning for a second referendum on Brexit, saw around a third of people (34 per cent and 31 per cent respectively) that thought their policy was clear.
YouGov surveyed 1,655 adults in Britain between May 13 and 14.
Opinion on the executive committee was said to be finely balanced after a ‘heated’ meeting last night.
Last month, members voted by nine to seven against changing the rules to allow a fresh vote of confidence in Mrs May’s leadership. Instead, they demanded a clear timetable for her departure.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee, said yesterday it was ‘sadly now time to hand over the reins to someone else with fresh ideas and the moral authority to lead the party’.
Chairman Sir Graham Brady, who has favoured a ‘dignified’ departure for Mrs May, is also said to have hardened his position, and this week signed a letter criticising her decision to open talks on a soft Brexit deal with Labour.
No 10 confirmed yesterday that MPs will be asked to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning on June 3.
Mrs May urged MPs on all sides to back the deal, saying: ‘This is the Bill that delivers Brexit.’ But a Shadow Cabinet minister told the Mail: ‘Jeremy [Corbyn] might be happy to let this Brexit deal go through but there is no way the party will let it happen.’
Mrs May’s DUP partners also ruled out backing the deal while it contains the Irish backstop.
And hardline Eurosceptics, whose opposition has scuppered the deal three times, indicated they would not back down.
Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson said: ‘Sadly, we will vote against it again because it doesn’t change the essential nature of the withdrawal agreement, which is unacceptable.’