A Tory grassroots revolt has been threatened on June 15 if the Prime Minister does not set out specifics on when she will pack her bags and leave Downing Street. Pressure continues to mount on the Tory leader as an official announcement about her failure to avoid European elections was quickly followed by continuing deadlock over Brexit talks with Labour. Today will see a Tory showdown as Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs, reveals the outcome of his secret departure talks with Mrs May to his colleagues.
Mr Brady has faced angry calls from backbenchers for “clarity” on Mrs May’s timetable for standing down and triggering a leadership contest.
Theresa May will have a chance to fight her corner at an emergency meeting with the National Conservative Convention, where she is expected to set out her reasons for not naming the date of her departure.
About 800 members will be asked to vote on a motion, which reads: “We no longer feel Mrs May is the right person to continue as Prime Minister to lead us forward in the negotiations.
“Therefore with great reluctance ask that she considers her position and resigns.”
The news came as Mrs May officially accepted she cannot get her Brexit deal through Parliament in time to avoid European elections on May 23.
Her effective deputy David Lidington confirmed the elections will go ahead, but said the Government was “redoubling our efforts” to get a Brexit deal ratified by the start of July so the MEPs elected this month never have to take their seats.
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10.11am update: UK remaining in customs union would be ‘bad for Britain’
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox strongly rejected the idea of the UK remaining in the EU’s customs union – one of Labour’s key demands in the Brexit talks.
At a trade conference in London he said it would be “bad for Britain” and leave access to the UK’s markets as a “commodity” to be traded by Brussels.
“The EU would be able to make access to the UK market part of their offer in any trade agreement and we would find ourselves in a unique position in our trading history in that we would be being traded. We would be a commodity in that particular agreement, where the EU would be able to offer access to the UK as part of their offer,” he said.
“It’s a situation that would leave the UK as a rule taker and in terms of our ability to shape trade policy would probably leave us in a worse situation than we are today, inside the EU.”
9.17am update: May is ‘sucking up oxygen from successor’
Pressure is building on Theresa May to back her bags and leave Downing Street.
BBC’s political editor Laura Kuennsberg tweeted: “One former minister, loyal to May til last time round, says she has to now go because ‘she is sucking up the oxygen her successor will need’ – Many others think changing rules now is crackers – attempts to oust her have produced sound and fury but no change so far.”
8.49am update Who are you voting for in the EU elections? Express.co.uk poll HERE
The European Elections will take place this month and Britons are set to head to the polls on May 23 after Theresa May’s failure to pull Britain out of the EU on March 29.
Express.co.uk is asking who you will vote for in the 2019 EU vote?
Britons will head to the polls to vote for the party and MEPs they want to represent them in the European Parliament, which is the body that is responsible, along with the Council of Ministers from member states, for making laws and approving budgets.
The issue is a thorny one on the backs of calls by many remainers for a second referendum while Brexiteers want Britain out now.
8.33am update: UK participation in EU elections ‘DISGRACE’
Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said it was a “disgrace” that European elections were going ahead in Britain, but insisted its supporters were ready to “send a very clear message back to Westminster”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve known for some time that this was inevitable. It’s an absolute disgrace that the Government is wasting £150 million of taxpayers’ cash, but we’re ready and we have a simple message: that we are aiming to change politics for good.
“The two-party system in Westminster is broken, and MPs are basically trying to deny the democratic will of the people.
“What’s clear, as we hold rallies up and down the country, is that actually there is a serious groundswell; a grassroots movement, an uprising of people who say ‘Actually democracy is vital and we need to send a very clear message back to Westminster in these European elections on May 23’.”
8.21am update: Tory-Labour Brexit talks stall
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey confirmed negotiations on a new deal that could win a parliamentary majority have still to bear fruit.
Speaking after a three-hour meeting, which she labelled “very robust”, she said: “Nothing has been agreed yet.”
But Ms Long-Bailey said there had been no movement towards a customs union, temporary or otherwise, and would only say another referendum was “one of many options”.
She said: “We haven’t had any movement or agreement on a customs union, certainly not today, but we will see what the rest of the week holds.
“Our policy position has not changed since the last Labour conference, where a public vote was one of many options on the table, certainly to avoid a Tory deal, a bad Tory or a no-deal situation.
“Certainly we’ve been exploring the issue of a confirmatory vote in these discussions, but as yet nothing has been agreed.”
A Downing Street spokesman added more talks were scheduled for Wednesday.
He said: “Today’s meeting was constructive and detailed.
“The teams have agreed to meet again for follow-up talks tomorrow afternoon, recognising the need to resolve the current deadlock in Parliament.”
7.50am update: Tory Party is ‘in meltdown’ – May savaged
Dinah Glover, who organised the petition of grassroot members, told i news: “The party at the moment is in absolute meltdown because they are terrified she is going to do a deal which will do damage to our country.”
Senior Tory activists will consider the question of Mrs May’s leadership at an emergency meeting of association chairmen – set for Saturday, June 15.
Tory MPs are powerless to remove Mrs May following a failed bid to boot her out as leader in December last year, led by Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg – but the grass roots are calling for a rule change.
The vote by members at an EGM of the National Conservative Convention would not be binding but would add pressure on Mrs May to quit if passed.