Setting a definite date could see the Prime Minister’s Brexiteer critics hold out for her departure, rather than backing her deal for the UK to leave the EU.
But chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers Sir Graham Brady is still insisting Mrs May sets a leaving date when she meets with his executive team next Thursday, the Sun reported.
Sir Graham Brady is still insisting Mrs May sets a leaving date when she meets with his executive team next Thursday
Increasing pressure on the Prime Minister, Sir Graham said it ‘would be strange’ if Mrs May did not comply, telling BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster: ‘I don’t think it’s about an intention for staying indefinitely as Prime Minister or leader of the Conservative Party.
‘I think the reticence is the concern that by promising to go on a certain timetable, it might make it less likely she would secure Parliamentary approval for the Withdrawal Agreement, rather than more likely.’
Sir Graham said that the 1922 executive has asked the Prime Minister for clarity, and she has offered to meet with them.
‘It would be strange for that not to result in a clear understanding at the end of the meeting,’ he said.
Sir Graham said the 1922 executive had asked a question, and ‘she’s coming, I assume, to answer it’.
So far Mrs May has rebuffed demands to set out a timetable for her departure from No 10 as pressure from Tory MPs has grown for her to make way for a new leader – as she tries to engage with the Labour Party to find a compromise on Brexit.
Sir Graham has warned Mrs May that she would be making a ‘catastrophic mistake’ if she conceded ground to Jeremy Corbyn in Brexit talks
Sir Graham has warned Mrs May that she would be making a ‘catastrophic mistake’ if she conceded ground to Jeremy Corbyn in Brexit talks.
The senior Tory backbencher said a deal that includes a customs union would have ‘unthinkable consequences’ and allow ‘dangerous extremists’ in the Labour party closer to Number 10.
Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Brady had said: ‘The temptation for the government now to do whatever is necessary to secure some kind of Brexit agreement is obvious but it must be resisted.
‘To reach an agreement with Labour that locked the United Kingdom into the customs union might pull in enough Labour votes to allow an agreement to limp over the line.
The Brexit Party was set to win 30 per cent in the European Parliament elections, according to a previous survey by YouGov for the Times
‘But the price could be a catastrophic split in the Conservative party and at a time when the Opposition is led by dangerous extremists, the consequences for our country would be unthinkable.’
In a swipe at Tory infighting Jeremy Corbyn has said: ‘It’s difficult negotiating with a disintegrating government with Cabinet ministers jockeying for the succession, rather than working for an agreement.’
Sir Graham has already made clear Mrs May had not offered any further clarity about her future – but would meet the committee’s 18-strong executive next week amid fury over the party’s worst local elections performance in 24 years.
He suggested she could make a final effort to get her Brexit deal through Parliament before the European elections, when the party is expected to suffer even heavier losses – as Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party storms ahead in a number of polls.