May battles to keep Brexit deal alive as her exit from No 10 looms

May battles to keep Brexit deal alive as her exit from No 10 looms

May 17, 2019

Brexit talks between Tories and Labour set to end with no deal TODAY after ‘tearful’ Theresa May was forced to admit she’ll quit in June

  • Prime Minister’s talks with Labour to end after 42 days with no breakthrough 
  • Mrs May told to ‘do her duty’ and quit as Brexit deal faces 100-vote defeat 
  • The PM has faced senior Tory MPs at behind-closed-doors meeting in Commons 
  • During ‘frank’ exchanges they effectively gave her notice to quit in two weeks 
  • Tory support has slumped to a 17-year low amid challenge from the Brexit Party  

A Brexit deal between the Tories and Labour is dead and the plug will be pulled after 42 days of talks without any breakthrough, it emerged today.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have given up and are now expected to consider a series of binding Parliamentary votes designed to find a consensus among MPs because the Prime Minister’s deal is likely to be killed off.

The collapse in talks came as Mrs May was effectively given a fortnight’s grace as Tory leader after making a ‘tearful’ appeal for one last chance to deliver Brexit at a meeting with senior Tories. 

The Prime Minister is said to have been ’emotional’ and ‘frustrated’ during the showdown with members of the powerful 1922 committee in her Commons office.

But despite the MPs stopping short of ordering her to name the date for her departure, she is still facing an effective deadline in the form of a crunch vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill in the first week of June. 

At the same time Boris Johnson the broke cover to confirm that he will stand to replace her in the top job. The ex-foreign secretary told a business conference in Manchester he was ‘going for it’.

A statement released by 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady after the meeting with the PM made clear he expects Mrs May to set out a schedule for departure whatever the result of the Commons clash. 

Mrs May’s chances of receiving Labour support for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) faded with Jeremy Corbyn’s party frustrated at the lack of progress in cross-party talks and the prospect of a new prime minister tearing up any compromise.

In a sign the negotiations are foundering, Mr Corbyn said he found it hard to deal with a Government in ‘disarray’ and warned ‘the time limit is very soon’. 

The Prime Minister (pictured yesterday)  is said to have been ’emotional’ as MPs effectively forced her out of office and talks with Labour will now collapse

Boris Johnson (pictured today) broke cover to confirm that he will stand to replace her in the top job. The ex-foreign secretary told a business conference in Manchester he was ‘going for it’.

Jeremy Corbyn, pictured in Salford yesterday, said it was hard to have Brexit talks with a Government in disarray and could pull the plug later too

Sir Graham said there had been a ‘frank’ exchange with Mrs May, and she was ‘devoting her efforts’ to getting the EU Withdrawal Bill past its first major vote in the Commons. 

‘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 of the Conservative and Unionist Party,’ he added. 

Will Mrs May buy David Cameron’s new book? 

David Cameron’s long-delayed autobiography will be released on September 19 – days before the Tory Party conference.

For The Record will provide ‘his perspective on the EU referendum and his views on the future of Britain’s place in the world’, his publishers said. Mr Cameron sold the rights to William Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins, for a reported £800,000 in 2016. 

An MP who was in the room told MailOnline there were ‘straightforward’ exchanges with the PM, who made no effort to hide her ‘frustration’ with the difficulties delivering Brexit.

‘The PM is frustrated at not being able to deliver Brexit as she promised,’ the MP said. ‘She was quite emotional. 

‘She is incredibly frustrated. She is doing her level best to deliver things and people are not going along with her…

‘There was a degree of tears of frustration more than anything else.’ 

Tory critics told Mrs May she had to consider ‘how long do you keep going before you say someone else has to take up the challenge’ of taking the UK out of the EU. 

More pressure was heaped on Mrs May earlier as a poll found her ratings had slumped to their worst ever – with 69 per cent saying they were dissatisfied with her performance. 

Underlining the mortal threat posed by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, Tory support has also plummeted to just 25 per cent – down 13 points in a month and the lowest for 17 years – according to the Ipsos MORI survey for the Standard. 

Labour was only just ahead on 27 per cent when people were asked which way they would vote in a general election, while the Brexit Party was on 16 per cent and the Lib Dems on 15 per cent.  

Theresa May pictured arriving at the Commons yesterday, where she was pleading her case at a behind-closed-doors meeting with around a dozen members of the powerful 1922 committee

After the meeting 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady made clear he expects Mrs May to set out a schedule for departure whatever the result of the Commons clash

Tory support has plummeted to just 25 per cent – the lowest for 17 years – according to the Ipsos MORI survey for the Standard

Nick Timothy, Mrs May’s former chief of staff, said that it is ‘beyond time for the Prime Minister to accept the game is up’, adding she ‘risks killing the Conservatives for good’.  

May vote plan sets up explosive few days for UK politics in June

MPs will get a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the first week of June, setting up a busy few days for the Government.

The legislation will be tables in the week beginning June 3, which is also when US president Donald Trump and his wife Melania visit the UK.

They will be in the country from Monday June 3 to Wednesday June 5.

On Thursday June 6, a by-election will be held in Peterborough to find a replacement for MP Fiona Onasanya, who lost her seat through a recall petition after serving time in prison for lying about a speeding offence.

There are also due to be a host of events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day the same day. 

‘Her premiership has failed – her authority is shot. Every day wasted from here makes life harder for whoever leads Britain into the future. We need to end this national humiliation’, he said.   

Mrs May’s Commons office is deep in the heart of parliament, away from prying eyes – and the 1922 members have been urged not to leak details.  

Some Tories want her to stay – claiming it won’t solve their Brexit conundrum – with one telling MailOnline: ‘Changing the pilot doesn’t change the weather’.

Even fierce critics of the premier are grim gloomy about their prospects of getting her out quickly, with one saying: ‘It should be the end. But with Theresa it only happens when it happens.’ 

The Prime Minister was in Paris last night for talks with Emmanuel Macron and EU leaders on how to eliminate violent and terrorist content from the internet.

Back home she is insisting she won’t quit until a Brexit deal is passed – but talks with Labour have hit the buffers as they demand a customs union and ponder making a second referendum the price of any deal.

As the meeting was considering the end for Mrs May’s premiership, Boris Johnson broke cover to confirm at a business conference that he will stand to replace her in the top job

Johnson rival Javid draws a link to Thatcher in attempt to woo Tories on business

Sajid Javid has drawn a comparison between his upbringing and that of Margaret Thatcher as he set out another marker for his leadership campaign.

The Home Secretary, who has not ruled out running to replace Theresa May, made the comments in a speech to mark the release of a think tank report on small businesses in the UK. 

He told the Centre for Policy Studies the Government should do more to tax big technology companies fairly and support small businesses.

Mr Javid referred to his father’s experience running a shop and a market stall, and described how he would ‘rush home from school’ to help.

Tory icon Mrs Thatcher was the daughter of a shopkeeper in Grantham, Lincs. 

Mr Javid said: ‘My story and Margaret Thatcher’s story, that link to small business, is of course a story for countless people, millions of people throughout our country.

The Home Secretary has always been happy to talk about his father, who was a bus driver.

‘What I haven’t said much is the reason that my dad was a bus driver was he wanted to get a job that could just give him enough savings so that he could do what was burning away in his heart, which was to start his own business,’ Mr Javid said.

‘He did manage to do that after a few years, when he started with market stalls, selling ladies’ clothing.

‘And then he managed to buy a shop which me and my mother and the whole family lived above.

‘I remember selling the blouses, the tights, the skirts … you could say I know more about ladies’ clothing than any other male MP.’ 

Asked if he would run against Mr Johnson he said: ‘I came here to talk about small business, and I just did that.’

And more than 100 Tory MPs are predicted to vote against the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), which was defeated by 58 votes in March.

With the Brexit Party also expected to hammer the Conservatives in the European elections on May 23, there is a clamour for the PM to go to way for a new leader by the summer. 

Mrs May’s Brexit deal could be ‘dead’ in weeks, Cabinet ministers warned yesterday, as sources claimed that the June vote could be her final act as Prime Minister as grassroots members are planning a vote of no confidence.

1922 Committee treasurer Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said: ‘It would be infinitely preferable if she set a date rather than us force her out.

‘It’s better that she does it than we have a vote of confidence. What I would like to see is her set out a timetable to trigger a leadership contest.’

After the talks with the Prime Minister, the 1922 Committee executive will hold a private meeting where changes to Tory leadership contest rules could be discussed, according to sources.

At present, Mrs May cannot be challenged again as leader until December.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen: ‘I would like to see the 22 give her a timetable to stand down. And, if she does not accept that timetable, tell her we will have another vote of confidence after the European elections.’

Prominent Brexiteer Mark Francois said that a predicted poor Tory showing in next week’s European Parliament elections would heap pressure on Mrs May to go.

He said: ‘As the polls increasingly suggest, we are going to have an extremely difficult night in the European elections.

‘And, because they are announced on a council by council basis, every MP will be able to reverse engineer the result in their own constituency.

‘At that point, I believe, my colleagues will finally wake up and smell the coffee if they have not, indeed, done so already.’

The Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage (pictured campaigning in Brentwood) is leading the polls for the European elections, which are being held next week

It came as Tory hardliners, the DUP and Labour lined up to say they would vote it down a fourth time.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox both warned that another rejection could lead to Brexit being cancelled. 

Meanwhile, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has spoken of his regret at not speaking out during the campaign about Vote Leave’s campaign claim that the UK sends the EU £350 million a week.

In an interview with Austrian paper Der Standard, he said: ‘I think it is an incomprehensible error on my part that I did not intervene in the Brexit campaign owing to British wishes.

‘So many lies were told, so many of the consequences of a ‘no’ were misrepresented, we as a commission should have spoken up.’

The Prime Minister will meet the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady at the start of June to agree to the details of the leadership contest to succeed her.

The move follows a lengthy meeting on Thursday between Mrs May and the 18-strong 1922 executive during which she again came under pressure to name her exit date from Downing Street.

Mrs May and Sir Graham’s next meeting will come after the WAB has received a second reading vote in the Commons in the week beginning June 3.

Downing Street insiders indicated that if the Bill cleared its first Commons hurdle, Mrs May would seek to persuade the 1922 Committee to allow her to remain in office and secure Brexit, letting her leave having completed the main goal of her administration.

Mrs May wants the legislation to complete its progress by the time Parliament rises for its summer break, which is usually near the end of July.

‘If the WAB goes through, she could say ‘this is my path for getting the Bill through Parliament, obviously it is something that is important to the ’22 to see Brexit delivered, and I want to see that through’ and then she is out after phase one,’ a source said.

But if the WAB was defeated, she would face intense pressure to quit immediately.

The source said ‘she would have to say ‘this is how I envisage the timetable for a leadership election happening’ and there would have to be some sort of agreement about that’.

Sir Graham said the meeting with the Prime Minister on Thursday was a ‘very frank discussion’.

Mr Johnson will not be alone in seeking to replace the Prime Minister, with a crowded field of potential challengers already jostling for position.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart wants the job and he has said ‘at least half-a-dozen’ Cabinet colleagues also have leadership ambitions.

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