The Chairman of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, has warned the Prime Minister to set out a “roadmap” of her departure, even if her Brexit deal is not passed in the House of Commons. The Government has been in negotiations with the Labour Party to try to deliver Britain’s divorce from the Brussels bloc, but little progress has been made. Senior members of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee met to discuss whether there should be a rule change to remove the Prime Minister.
Speaking on Sky News, Sir Graham said: “The decision was first of all that we determined there should not be a rule change to remove the 12-month period of grace during which a second confidence vote cannot be held.
“We further determined that we should remind colleagues that it is always available to them to write to me as chairman of the 1922 Committee raising concerns or setting out their thoughts, including concerns about the leadership of the party, and that the strength of opinion would be communicated by me to the leader of the party should they decide to do so.
“Thirdly, we determined that following the Prime Minister’s decision a few weeks ago to set out a clear schedule for departure as leader of the party in the event of the withdrawal agreement being passed, we would seek similar clarity from her in other circumstances.”
He added: “I think the 1922 executive is asking on behalf of the Conservative Party in Parliament that we should have a clear roadmap forward.”
The announcement comes after officers of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee met in Westminster on Tuesday and Wednesday amid growing pressure for the Prime Minister to name the date of her departure.
Ahead of Tuesday’s talks, the committee chairman met privately with Mrs May, and is reported to have told her MPs want her to announce when she is going.
Under the current Tory party rules, MPs cannot mount a new leadership challenge until 12 months after last December’s failed attempt.
On Tuesday, joint executive secretary and Conservative MP for Ribble Valley, Nigel Evans, publicly called for Mrs May to go “as soon as possible”.
He told Today: “To be honest I would be delighted if she announced today she was announcing her resignation and we could then have an orderly election to choose a new leader of the Conservative Party.
“I believe the only way we’re going to break this impasse properly is if we have fresh leadership of the Conservative Party.”
Mrs May last month promised Tory MPs that she would step down as leader after her deal gets through the House of Commons.
But, following the latest extension of the Article 50 process, the UK will be forced to take part in European elections if the Prime Minister cannot get her deal through Parliament before the end of May.
Talks between the Government and the Labour Party resumed this week to try to deliver Brexit. The Prime Minister said that the talks were “serious” but that the Government side had hit difficulties over the timetable for talks.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn put the blame for lack of progress on the Government’s refusal to shift on its “red lines”.
He said: “We’ll continue putting our case but quite honestly there’s got to be change in the Government’s approach.
“They cannot keep on just regurgitating what has already been emphatically rejected three times by Parliament, there’s got to be a change.”