Is today the day that the Conservative Party gets rid of Theresa May?
The Prime Minister is meeting with the backbench 1922 Committee to discuss her future. It wants a date for when she will leave Downing Street, whether or not the withdrawal agreement bill has passed – with her current agreed exit date being whenever it passes.
As it stands, May cannot be removed until December of this year – having seen off one confidence vote in her leadership, she is immune to challenge within a year. But the Conservative Party can rewrite its rules as it sees fit, allowing a fresh confidence vote and to get shot of her earlier than desired. (Why not just go the whole hog and change the rules so that you can’t be Tory leader if your first name is Theresa and your surname is May?)
May brought a lawyer with her to her last meeting with Graham Brady, which gives you an idea how acrimonious this gathering is going to be. It underlines the truth that Conservative MPs are beginning to come to terms with: the only way to get May out, whether before or after her December sell-by date, will be to force her hand.
But while May – alongside Britain’s No 1 chutzpah manufacturer, her former adviser Nick Timothy, who calls for her to go in today’s Telegraph – might be the author of a parliament where the United Kingdom’s only option is a negotiated Brexit in which the whole UK remains in the customs and regulatory orbit of the EU, or indefinite delay, getting rid of her won’t change that situation. We still might yet be on for our third election of 2019.