Theresa May resists calls to name date of departure but vows to discuss leadership election timetable after vote on Brexit deal

Theresa May has agreed to set a timetable for the election of her successor as Tory leader, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee has said. 

The Prime Minister has not formally set a date for her departure, despite growing calls, but has agreed to discuss a leadership election timetable in June.

Mrs May will meet Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, to set out a timetable for her departure after the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning June 3, he said today.

Following a meeting between the Prime Minister and the 1922 executive at Westminster on Thursday, Sir Graham said he would meet her again in early June to agree the details. 

In a statement, Sir Graham said: “The Prime Minister is determined to secure our departure from the European Union and is devoting her efforts to securing the 2nd Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week commencing 3rd June 2019 and the passage of that Bill and the consequent departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union by the summer.

Mrs May met the 1922 executive at Westminster (AFP/Getty Images)

“We have agreed that she and I will meet following the 2nd Reading of the Bill to agree a timetable for the election of a new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.”

The statement means that, yet again, Mrs May has resisted calls for her to name the date of her departure from No 10.

Sir Graham said the discussion with the Prime Minister was “frank”, and confirmed the next meeting with her would take place regardless of whether the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passes a second reading next month.

Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee (PA)

He told reporters: “We have agreed to meet to decide the timetable for the election of a new leader of the Conservative Party as soon as the second reading has occurred and that will take place regardless of what the vote is on the second reading – whether it passes or whether it fails.”

Sir Graham added: “It was a very frank discussion, I tried to make sure that all the views represented on the executive were expressed and we had a very frank exchange with the Prime Minister.”

Reacting to the outcome of the meeting, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “Gutted, useless and exactly what I expected. Really, really pathetic.”

The news comes as former foreign secretary Boris Johnson revealed he will be standing as a candidate to replace Mrs May when she does exit the role of Conservative leader. 

Speaking at a business event in Manchester, Mr Johnson said: “Of course I’m going to go for it.”

Several senior Tories are expected to enter the contest following Mrs May’s resignation.

Among those who have already indicated they will put themselves forward for the race are Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom and Rory Stewart. 


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