The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has agreed to set out a timetable for her departure from office following the Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in June. The announcement was made yesterday by the Chairman of the Conservative Party’s backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, following a meeting between May and the Committee’s executive. In a statement, Brady said that May was “determined to secure our departure from the European Union and is devoting her efforts to securing the Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week commencing 3 June 2019 and the passage of the Bill and the subsequent departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union by the summer.” The statement added that Brady and May would meet again after the Second Reading “to agree a timetable for the election of a new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.”
Speaking afterwards, Brady described yesterday’s meeting as a “frank exchange” and confirmed the next meeting would take place “regardless of what the vote is… whether it passes, or whether it fails.” Meanwhile, the Committee’s executive did not hold a vote on whether to change the party’s rules to allow an early vote of no confidence in May’s leadership. The Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, also confirmed the timetable for the introduction of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
Elsewhere, the former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, told an event in Manchester yesterday that he intends to stand for the party leadership if a vacancy becomes available.
This comes as a recent YouGov poll has shown the Liberal Democrats performing better than both Labour and the Conservatives in advance of the upcoming European Parliament elections. The poll estimates that the Liberal Democrats will receive 16% of votes, Labour 15% and the Conservatives 9%. The newly-formed Brexit party are polling at 35% of the vote.
Speaking to CNN on the subject of the elections, Open Europe’s Dominic Walsh said, “Historically, voting in the European Parliament is not usually very close, so UK MEPs won’t necessarily have a decisive influence on the [overall] outcomes. If they did, however, [these elections in the UK] would be hugely controversial.”
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