Prime Minister Theresa May is expected today to set out her plans to step down as the leader of the Conservative party on the week of 10 June, according to the Financial Times and the BBC. May is due to meet Chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, Sir Graham Brady, at 9 am this morning and is expected to make a statement later today. Brady will reportedly tell May that she could face a no confidence vote by Conservative MPs if she brings forward the current draft of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) for a parliamentary vote. The Treasurer of the Committee, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, yesterday said, “I want [May] to give a timetable for when she will go,” adding that if she does not set a resignation date, “There will be overwhelming pressure for the [1922 Committee] to change the rules and hold a ballot on confidence in the Prime Minister.”
Prior to these reports, the Government announced its plans to publish the WAB during the first week of June, instead of today. Government Whip Mark Spencer told the Commons yesterday, “We will update the House on the publication and introduction of the WAB on our return from the Whitsun recess [on 4 June],” adding, “We had hoped to hold second reading on Friday 7 June. At the moment, we have not secured agreement to this in the usual channels.”
Elsewhere, an Ipsos MORI survey for the Evening Standard on voting intentions before European Parliamentary elections commenced yesterday predicted that the Brexit Party will win the largest share of votes at 35%, followed by 20% for the Liberal Democrats, 15% for Labour, 10% for the Greens, 9% for the Conservatives, 3% for both UKIP and Change UK and 5% for other candidates. Due to reporting restrictions, the results of the elections in the UK will not be announced until Sunday evening at the earliest.
This comes as Downing Street announced yesterday that former Paymaster General Mel Stride will become the new Leader of the House of Commons after Andrea Leadsom’s resignation on Wednesday.
What to watch out for in the EU27 as Europe votes
In a new blog, the Open Europe team provides an overview of key questions to consider when observing the European Parliament elections this weekend, both across the EU, and in select EU27 member states our experts have been following for the last weeks.
Elsewhere, Open Europe’s Henry Newman discussed this week’s key political events on the Guardian Politics Weekly podcast.