British PM to set departure date after lawmakers vote on Brexit

Theresa May during the Tory conference [Photo: The Week UK]
Theresa May during the Tory conference [Photo: The Week UK]

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, will set out a timetable for her departure in early June after the latest attempt to get her Brexit deal approved by parliament, an official said.

The chairman of a powerful Conservative Committee said this on Thursday in London.

Three years after Britain voted to leave the EU, there is little clarity over when, how and even whether Brexit will happen.

And this had prompted some in Mrs May’s party to call for a new approach to the country’s biggest policy shift in more than 40 years.

Mrs May has promised to step down after her Brexit deal is approved by lawmakers but many in her party want her to set out clearly when she will quit if the agreement is rejected for a fourth time, and others are demanding her immediate departure.

“The prime minister is determined to secure our departure from the EU,” Graham Brady, Chair of the 1922 Committee that can make or break party leaders, said.

Mr Brady said this following a meeting between his committee’s executive and Mrs May in parliament which he described as a “very frank exchange”.

The government has said lawmakers will be able to debate and vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the legislation required to enact Mrs May’s Brexit deal, in the week starting June 3.

“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,” Mr Brady said.

Mr Brady added that the conversation would take place whether the bill was passed or not.


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Mrs May, who became prime minister in the chaos that followed the 2016 referendum when Britons voted 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the EU, survived a no-confidence vote of her Conservative lawmakers in December.

Under current party rules, she cannot be challenged again for a year, but some on Mr Brady’s committee had pushed for those rules to be changed in order to try to force her out earlier if she refused to set out a clear departure date.

Boris Johnson, the face of the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, said he would stand as a candidate to replace Mrs May as Conservative leader.

Mrs May’s Brexit deal has been rejected three times by parliament and weeks of talks with the opposition Labour Party, the idea of which were deeply unpopular with many Conservatives, have failed to find a consensus on the way forward.

Mired in Brexit deadlock and forced to delay Britain’s March 29 exit from the EU, Mrs May’s Conservatives suffered major losses in local elections this month and are trailing in opinion polls before May 23 European Parliament elections.

With Labour and Brexit-supporting rebels in the Conservatives planning to vote against her deal, it is unlikely to be approved as things stand.

Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers were unimpressed with May’s failure to set a firm date to quit.

One, who declined to be named, described it as “yet further procrastination, which is causing appalling damage to the Conservative Party.”

Another, Andrew Bridgen, said Mrs May was “an increasingly beleaguered and isolated prime minister, who is desperate to salvage something from her premiership.

Mr Bridgen said Mrs May was prepared to drive through an agreement that would fatally hamstring any future prime minister in negotiations with the EU.



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