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More calls for UK’s Theresa May to quit over Brexit logjam

Under Conservative party rules, May is immune from a leadership challenge until December, having won the last no-confidence vote in December 2018. But critics believe a no-confidence motion by the grassroots forum would add pressure on her to quit, instead of being pushed.

world Updated: Apr 24, 2019 00:23 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
UK,Theresa May,Westminster
May and her team is scheduled to resume talks with the opposition Labour to try and reach a consensus on the withdrawal agreement that has been thrice voted down by the House of Commons. (REUTERS)

As many as 70 chairmen of local Conservative associations signed a motion calling for an emergency session of the party’s grassroots forum to express no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May, bringing the Brexit debate back to Westminster after the Easter break.

The new Brexit date has been pushed down the road to October 31, but the immediate challenge before May is to reach a situation in which the UK avoids taking part in the May 23 elections to the European Parliament. This is possible if a consensus is reached to resolve the logjam.

As some parties prepared to announce candidates for the European elections, May met her cabinet on Tuesday morning, while pro and anti-Brexit activists returned outside parliament, noisily putting their cases forward before passersby and television cameras.

Under Conservative party rules, May is immune from a leadership challenge until December, having won the last no-confidence vote in December 2018. But critics believe a no-confidence motion by the grassroots forum would add pressure on her to quit, instead of being pushed.

Nigel Evans, a senior member of the party’s influential 1922 Committee, insisted that she step down immediately, telling BBC that the process for selecting a new leader “can’t start soon enough”. The committee organises confidence votes in the party leader.

He said: “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 … If there was an announcement today by the prime minister then of course we could start the process straight away.”

May and her team are scheduled to resume talks with the opposition Labour to try and reach a consensus on the withdrawal agreement that has been thrice voted down by the House of Commons. However, given the intractable positions of the two sides, there is not much hope of the talks making headway in Westminster.

First Published: Apr 23, 2019 17:24 IST