Mrs May is under intense pressure to confirm the date when she plans to step down. Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, which represents Conservative Party backbench MPs, told Radio 4 yesterday Mrs May had been asked to give “clarity” at next Wednesday’s meeting after failing to get her Brexit deal through parliament, leaving the government in a state of limbo. He said: “It would be strange for that not to result in a clear understanding of when she will leave at the end of the meeting.”
A Tory Westminster source told Express.co.uk the mood within the party was “hardening” against the Prime Minister, adding: “Either she gets a deal through in the next seven days or she has to resign.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Hewitt, ITV’s political correspondent, tweeted: “Members of the Tory 1922 executive tell me Thursday is D-Day for Theresa May – they’ll demand a departure date when she addresses them, and if she doesn’t, they will vote on a change to party rules.
“‘This is her last chance’ one tells me.
“If we detect any messing about or equivocation, that’s it. She’s gone.”
“Another said “she can’t keep kicking this can down the road like she has done with Brexit.”
Mr Hewitt said neither of the MPs he had spoken were certain whether there was a majority on the body’s executive for rule changes which would facilitate Mrs May’s removal – although they stressed most of them wanted a change before the summer recess.
Current rules stipulate Mrs May cannot face another challenge from Tory MPs within 12 months of the previous no-confidence vote, which she won in December.
Mrs May faced calls to resign during Prime Minister’s Question Time last week.
Brexiteer Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns told her she had “failed” in EU withdrawal negotiations and forfeited the trust of the public.
She added: “The public no longer trust her to run Brexit negotiations.
“Isn’t it time to step aside and let someone else lead our country, our party and the Brexit negotiations?”
Bernard Jenkin – a leader of Tory MPs’ 1922 Committee – today condemned Mrs May for “surrendering again and again” and called for her to go over the summer, accusing her of having “written the script for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party”.
Even Theresa May’s husband Philip has shifted his focus to her exit rather than keeping her in office, one report in the Sunday Times claimed.
A friend told the newspaper: “He loves her dearly, and he wants her to exit decently.”
Downing Street declined to comment on the report – but has made clear the Prime Minister was not ready to go beyond her earlier promise to the 1922 Committee to quit as Tory leader when the first phase of Brexit negotiations – dealing with the divorce terms – is complete.
A Downing Street source said: “The PM made a very generous and bold offer to the 1922 Committee a few weeks ago that she would see through phase one of the Brexit process and she would leave and open up for new leadership for phase two.”